Cooking With Matcha

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Matcha tea is a HOT food trend right now but you can enjoy it cold as well. There are several things that set this apart from traditional green tea and new ways to use it are continually surfacing. Learn more about this trending ingredient and how can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

What Is Matcha?

Matcha powder may be new to many in the U.S. but this green tea powder has been the central component of Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. Matcha is a finely ground powder made from green tea leaves. Instead of steeping and discarding part of the tea, you are sipping down all of it, and therefore taking advantage of additional nutritional benefits.

Matcha can be enjoyed, hot, cold or incorporated into various cooking techniques (more on that below). The bright emerald color is unmistakable but the flavor is a little harder to explain if you’ve never tasted green tea. Matcha is more potent than green tea leaves and has more earthy flavor elements. It has a note of mild sweetness, followed by a mouthful of umami; some folks find it downright bitter.

Nutrition Highlights

Matcha powder is rich in inflammation fighting antioxidants known as catechins as well as other plant-based compounds called polyphenols. These substances may help protect the body against degenerative diseases like heart disease and certain types of cancer. A small study published in 2017 revealed that drinking matcha may also be linked to better attention and improved memory. Research published in January 2018 found that drinking a green tea beverage before exercise increased fat burning during that activity; researchers noted that the benefits of matcha should not be overstated based on their finding but certainly points for further exploration into this topic. More research is needed to determine true benefits associated with matcha and exercise.

Matcha contains caffeine and also traces of lead so there are good reasons to consume in moderation to avoid potential side effects.

Learn more about the benefits and potential side effects associated with matcha.

Ways to Use More Matcha

There’s no denying that cozying up with a cup of matcha tea is a wonderful way to enjoy it, but don’t stop there. Here several more ways to indulge in the antioxidants by adding matcha to less obvious recipes.

Better Beverages
Coffee shop menu items and bottled tea drinks can have tablespoon upon tablespoon of sugar per serving. Instead of all those empty calories, make your own matcha bevvie by whisking the powder into hot or cold water with a drizzle of honey. Serve with a dose of steamed milk for a homemade latte and be sure to freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for later use in smoothies and other cold drinks.

Stir Fry and Noodles
Whisk matcha into a broth for noodle bowls. For a unique stir fry sauce, combine a few teaspoons of matcha with reduced sodium soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and honey. Toss the sauce in a hot skillet with vegetables and strips of chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. If a thicker sauce is desired, add a few teaspoons of cornstarch to the sauce.

Steamed Fish
Cook your favorite seafood in a steamy bath of matcha! Sprinkle over shrimp or firm white fish and cook in parchment packets.

Add matcha powder to the cooking liquid for grains like oatmeal and rice. Start with 2 teaspoons per cup of liquid and add more to taste. For another variation, sprinkle freshly popped popcorn (yes, popcorn counts towards your servings of whole grains) with a mix of cinnamon, matcha, and sea salt.

Spice Mixes
Along the same lines of a popcorn topping, use matcha as part of savory or sweet spice mixes. Add to marinades, salad dressing or dry rubs for fish and poultry.

Baked Goods
Adding matcha to baked goods is one of the trendiest ways to incorporate the green tea powder into recipes. Add a few teaspoons to your favorite pancake mix, muffin batter or shortbread cookie dough. Use as a natural coloring agent by spiking white icing recipes with a pop of green.

Chocolate and Frozen Treats
There's also room at the dessert table for match. Proper portions of infused chocolate can be teamed up with dried fruit and crunchy nuts for a guilt free (and highly addictive) munchie. Matcha also make a welcomed addition to ice pops and homemade frozen yogurt.

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Article Sources
  • Dietz C, Dekker M, Piqueras-Fiszman B, An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance. Food Res Int. 2017 Sep;99(Pt 1):72-83. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.05.002
  • Willems MET, Şahin MA, Cook MD. Matcha Green Tea Drinks Enhance Fat Oxidation During Brisk Walking in Females. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 Jan 18:1-21. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0237​.