Matcha, a type of green tea, is not only good for you but delicious too- it has an earthy flavor and is a popular ingredient used in Japanese desserts, giving them a vibrant green color. Here are 16 easy sweet & savoury matcha recipes that save you from having to go to the coffee shop!
What is matcha?
Matcha is a type of Japanese green tea powder. It has been gaining popularity in the West over the last few years although it's been part of the Japanese diet for much longer. (If you're a fan of Japanese food, try this Japanese konnyaku jelly fruit salad dessert which has no sugar added!) You might have seen it at your local Starbucks in the form of an iced latte (I have a good matcha latte Starbucks copycat easy recipe here.)
There are a few differences in how you consume traditional matcha tea vs green tea though, which I'll elaborate on below.
Note: there are 2 grades of matcha, the more expensive, higher quality ceremonial grade and the more affordable culinary grade matcha.
vs green tea
Matcha is basically young green tea leaves that are grown under shade to increase the chlorophyll content, then ground into a powder. With regular green tea, you steep the whole green tea leaves (or tea bags) in hot water, drink the resulting tea then toss the tea leaves away. When you drink matcha, you ingest the leaves themselves- the powder doesn't actually dissolve in water but is actually suspended in it.
To be honest, I drink traditional Japanese green tea at home, not matcha, as green tea is easier to make! (You have to sift the matcha powder to get rid of clumping, then whisk the matcha and hot water together in a circular motion to form a foamy tea that you drink.) Instead, I prefer to drink green tea & add matcha powder to my bakes for convenience.
Everyone who's read a magazine or newspaper in the last decade must have heard about the health benefits of green tea, thanks to its anti-oxidant (specifically a type of catechin called EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate) content. Drinking green tea (sans the added sugar and milk!) can improve your health in a whole range of ways, ranging from:
- better cardiovascular health
- lower inflammation levels
- reduced risk of developing chronic diseases
- lower risk of dying from early deaths, for people with diabetes
By the way, the above is not from a dodgy source, but taken directly from the Harvard Medical School Health Publishing's website!
Note: green tea is a magnet for lead, so there have been concerns about the amount of lead in green tea and matcha. However, ConsumerLab has tasted the premium matcha brands in the US and found that the lead content in them is not an issue. Whenever possible, I try to buy organic matcha powder.
- You can use a regular whisk instead of splurging on the bamboo whisk when you make matcha drinks- we're not conducting a traditional Japanese tea ceremony after all!
- Adding cold water to the matcha powder makes it harder to dissolve but reduces the bitterness. (Don't use boiling water!)
Matcha has about half the amount of caffeine that coffee has, so is a good way to get an energy boost without the coffee jitters.
Other tea recipes
You can add some club soda to the matcha syrup to make a super quick & easy matcha soda.
Note: you can make any of these matcha recipes vegan by using a non-dairy milk such as oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk etc You'll actually get a healthier mug of green tea latte this way, as research has shown that adding cow's milk to tea reduces its health benefits. (Specifically, it reduces its vascular protection.)
For more Asian drink recipes, click here. Many matcha recipes are drinks, so I decided to focus more on foods made with matcha- scroll on to find out more!
You can also create 2 doughs, 1 with matcha and 1 without, to form a lovely spiral mantou that is perfect for entertaining.
For more cookie recipes, 2 of which are matcha flavoured, check out these Galentines Day cookies.
Note: these recipes call for baking- after baking so much (someone ordered 140 of my pandan cupcakes for Christmas and over 22 jars of traditional peanut cookies!) I've realised how much easier it is for your knees and back if the oven is at the right height (counter-level). For more tips that I picked up after regutting my kitchen, click here.
This matcha ice cream would make a great dessert after a sushi party- for more side dishes to serve with sushi, click here.
P.S. If you want to throw a sushi party but can't get the rice, click here for some great sushi rice substitutes that my Japanese friends and I used when living in a wee fishing village in Scotland.
In case you're wondering, it's not just sweet foods that go well with matcha- here are some salty match recipes for you to experiment with.
What are some of your favorite matcha recipes? I'd love to hear about any not included on this list!