I can’t decide how I feel about Matcha. On the one hand, it’s a fun plant product with a lot of history and ritual, and on top of that it’s supposed to be healthy. When you open the packet you’re confronted with a lovely jade green powder, packed with possibilities.
For me, the problem begins when you make it into a cup of tea. It’s not that you need to whip it into a frenzy and it takes a little bit longer – that’s fine. It’s that it turns a murky green colour that would entice only the most die-hard of wheatgrass juice fans. And it tastes… well, I suspect it is an acquired taste that I haven’t acquired yet! I find it easier to drink sweetened, and a little lemon juice helps to lift the flavour.
I know from experience that matcha is reasonably nice if you mix it with a sweet fruit juice, but we don’t drink a lot of juice. And the internet is filled with pretty pictures of things you can make with matcha – or bake, rather, since the majority of the recipes fall into the ‘sweet treat’ category. I’d love to spend my days downing matcha smoothies and tucking into matcha cupcakes, but the truth is that these days that would rapidly lead to none of my clothes fitting.
So when Dream Matcha offered me the opportunity to try their matcha tea, I pondered what to do with it. The matcha I received came in a plastic pouch, and the first thing I would suggest is decanting it into something else – getting a spoonful out of the pouch leaves you with green fingers! But it’s a nice product, bright jade green and well powdered. It makes a decent cup of tea – if you’re a matcha fan.
As I drank my tea, I thought about making a batch of muffins – I have a reasonably healthy muffin recipe, which always goes down well, and which might benefit from an antioxidant boost from some green tea. So I whipped up a batch:
Oat raisin matcha muffins
100g/ 4 oz wholemeal plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
55g/ 2 oz rolled oats
1 tbsp DreamMatcha matcha tea
1 large beaten egg
55g/ 2 oz golden caster sugar
125 ml/ 4.5 fl oz milk
55g/ 2 oz melted butter
85g/ 3 oz raisins or sultanas
(also works with 35g chocolate chips 😉 )
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas 6.
- Mix dry ingredients in large bowl
- Mix wet ingredients in a jug
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold in very gently, then carefully stir in raisins
- Divide the mixture into 6 muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.
As you can see, the result is ferociously green, but actually the flavour is very subtle and the muffins are very nice. I like them fresh and still warm; Ryan had to wait until he got home from work for his, but he enjoys them for breakfast, with a smear of butter. They didn’t last long!
But matcha muffins wouldn’t do for lunch on their own, so I added another tablespoon of matcha powder to the vegetable soup I was making for lunch – making beetroot and matcha soup. I was initially worried that the result would be a muddy brown colour, but the beetroot prevailed and the green tea just darkened the colour slightly. Phew! There had been suggestions on the internet that the matcha would add some depth of flavour; I didn’t notice much of a difference, and I suspect if you didn’t know it was in there you wouldn’t guess. So if you want a way to add matcha into your diet without noticing, add it to beetroot soup!
Have you developed a matcha habit? Have you got a kick-ass recipe to share? Do tell!