Photo credit: Food for Health
Looking for something different for St. Patrick’s Day? Perhaps something green?
How about some matcha? This finely milled green tea powder, which until recently was available mainly in Japan, is the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were developed in the 12th century. Matcha has recently become a common ingredient in coffee and tea shops, in the form of matcha or green tea lattes.
The practice of milling tea leaves into a fine powder and then whisking in water originated in China around the 10th century, but the best matcha comes from Japan. Tea leaves grown for producing matcha are shaded from direct light 20 days prior to harvest to boost chlorophyll levels. This produces darker, more vibrant green leaves, and also increases the production of L-theanine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant. L-theanine has both calming and stimulating properties. All green tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which are thought to have anti-cancer properties. Because matcha is finely milled, it has higher concentrations of these antioxidants than regular green tea.
If you want to try using matcha at home, you can start with a simple drink, a matcha latte. Just heat up some milk and stir in a small amount of matcha (start with a teaspoon) dissolved in a little hot water to make a thin paste — this will make it easier to dissolve.
If you want to get a little more creative, try this easy dessert, which I developed for Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Health blog. This pudding was inspired by bubble or boba tea. Chia seeds — a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, iron and calcium — become tapioca-like when soaked in liquid. The coconut milk complements the natural bitterness of the matcha to make a smooth, creamy, light dessert.
Matcha Coconut Chia Pudding
1 can light coconut milk
3 tablespoons chia
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Keep tightly sealed or in a jar with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
2. Stir well before serving. Thin with additional water, if desired.
Nutrition info per serving:
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 3 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Sugar: 7 g
Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day recipes (and a few stories)?
The Mexican-Irish Connection: Chilaquiles Verdes
Recipes with Guinness Stout: https://spiceboxtravels.com/2011/03/15/a-guinness-stout-menu-for-st-patricks-day
Green Recipes (that are not beer):
If you want have fun, share stories and share food, come cook with me in the Thrive Kitchen at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco! We had a fun time this week cooking up all kinds of greens. I hope you’ll be able to join me next month for Spring Vegetables, 4/18. Registering now: SFHealthEd@kp.org or 415-833-3450, $30 KP members, $40 non-members. Hope to see you there! And please join my healthy cooking community on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/TheDoctorsSpicebox.