Characterized by an intense aroma but above all by its bright emerald color, Matcha tea, whose history dates back to over 1000 years ago, is one of the most appreciated varieties of Japanese green tea. Before we give you these three tasty recipes based on this ingredient, let’s look together at the origins of this drink and its properties.
A bit of history
In the Orient this is a highly esteemed ingredient and is used for the tea ceremony, the traditional Japanese ritual which conceals a philosophy which goes far beyond the simple consumption of the drink characterized by a highly precise code of behavior. The tea ceremony originated in the Buddhist monasteries, where the consumption of this drink had the double intent of keeping the monks awake during the long hours of meditation and helping them in their inner research. This ritual, imbued with a profound spirituality, tends to help participants reach a level of calm and inner awareness, and requires careful and precise preparation.
Characteristics of Matcha tea
This is a variety of Green Tea which comes from the plantations cultivated away from direct sunlight. The first green shoots and the buds are gathered by hand and then exposed to steam in large baskets to stop their fermentation. They are then dried and ground down to a powder of an intense emerald green color with a consistency similar to face powder. Matcha tea is generally sold in two varieties: usucha, from leaves gathered from plants younger than 30 years old, and koicha, which is much sweeter, more substantial and highly valued than the former, made with leaves from plants which are more than 30 years old.
Properties and contraindications
This tea is rich in antioxidants, precious allies in combating aging, and also has important qualities for cardiovascular health and strengthening the immune system. But it is also an excellent source of vitamin A and the group of vitamins B, C, E and K. If on the one hand it helps to protect the skin and keep the digestive tract healthy, on the other hand the presence of L-theanine aids concentration and helps to reduce psycho-physical stress. Among the properties of Matcha tea, there is also the acceleration of metabolism, which can help the slimming process. And finally it also has a detoxifying and draining action, thanks to its chlorophyll content. There are some potential contraindications connected to the presence of more caffeine than other varieties of green tea, which could make it unsuitable for those who suffer from insomnia.
How to prepare it
A differenza degli altri tè, il matcha non viene preparato per infusione ma per sospensione. Anche gli attrezzi da usare sono particolari. Si usa il chasaku, un cucchiaino sottile ricurvo realizzato in bambù, e lo si versa in tazza in cui si aggiungono 200 ml di acqua a 80° C. A questo punto si mescola, utilizzando il chasen, un frustino di bambù realizzato a partire da un unico pezzo della pianta, in grado di mescolare il matcha in maniera omogenea e senza alterarne il sapore.
In contrast with other teas, Matcha tea is not prepared as an infusion but by suspension. Even the equipment used is unusual. A slim curved spoon made of bamboo called a chasaku is used to pour the tea into a cup to which 7,04 fl oz of water at 176° F is added. At this point the mix is stirred, using the chasen, a bamboo whisk made of a single piece of the plant, capable of mixing the Matcha in an even manner without altering its flavor.
Recipes with Matcha tea
After we have seen what the characteristics of Matcha tea are and how it is prepared, we will see how it can be used as an ingredient to prepare three sweet recipes.
Muffin with yogurt and Matcha tea
Perfect for breakfast but also practical for a mid-morning snack. These are muffins with yogurt and Matcha tea, with dried fruit added to make them even more tasty.
Ingredients for 8-10 muffins
- 2 medium eggs
- 8,82 oz of full fat yogurt
- 3,53 oz of sugar
- 8,82 oz of pastry flour
- 3,52 fl oz of sunflower oil
- 1 sachet of yeast
- 2 teaspoons of Filicori Zecchini Matcha tea
- a handful of pistachio nuts or almonds for decorating
- Break the eggs and leave them at room temperature for about 10 minutes, add them to the sugar in a large bowl and beat until light in color and fluffy. Then pour in the oil little by little and keep stirring, then add the yogurt.
- Sieve the flour and the yeast and add them gradually to the mixture. Stir well and then add the Matcha tea, continuously mixing until the mixture is a fine emerald color.
- Oil and flour the muffin paper cases and fill them not more than two thirds full with mixture. Add a few pistachios or almonds. Cook the muffins at 200° C for the first 5 minutes and then at 180° C for a further 15 minutes approximately. Take out of the oven and leave to cool before serving.
Matcha tea biscuits
There’s nothing better than an afternoon break with a cup of tea, but why not add some mouth-watering Matcha tea biscuits?
Ingredients for 20-22 biscuits
- 7.05 oz of flour
- 3.17 oz of cold butter
- 2.82 oz of sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon of Filicori Zecchini Matcha tea.
- Cut the butter into small chunks, add the sugar and beat until you get a creamy mixture. At this point add the egg and mix again.
- Add the teaspoon of Matcha tea and continue mixing until you get a thick and even creamy mixture. At this point, add the sieved flour and bicarbonate of soda, one spoonful at a time. You will get an even dough which you must wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about half an hour.
- Once the half hour has passed, flour the work surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Cut the biscuits using a cup or a biscuit cutter and arrange them on a baking tray.
- Put them into an oven pre-heated to 356° F and bake for around 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool before serving, with a cup of Matcha tea of course. If kept in a tin or airtight container, the biscuits will last for several days.
Matcha tea cake
Start the day right with the perfect breakfast: coffee and milk and a slice of matcha tea cake.
Ingredients for 6-8 people:
- 10,58 oz of cake flour
- 10,58 oz of caster sugar
- 8.82 oz of soft butter
- 5 eggs
- 1 vanilla pod
- a sachet of yeast for cakes
- half a glass of milk
- 2/3 teaspoons of Filicori Zecchini Matcha tea powder
- Powdered sugar for decorating
- butter and flour as needed for the baking tin
- In a bowl, beat the soft butter and sugar with an electric whisk until you get a light and fluffy mixture. Add the eggs, one by one: adding each one only after the previous one is fully mixed in. Open the vanilla pod and with the tip of a knife, scrape the content into the mixture and mix well.
- Sieve the flour and yeast, then add to the mixture one spoonful at a time. Dissolve two teaspoonfuls of Matcha tea in the milk. When it becomes a bright emerald green color, pour it into the mixture and stir until you obtain a smooth consistency.
- Take a baking tin, preferably hinged, with a diameter of 10,23 inches, buttered and floured. Pour in the mix and level off with a spoon and cook in the oven pre-heated to 338 ° F for around 60 minutes, checking if it is cooked through using a skewer or toothpick. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Before serving, decorate with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a spoonful of Matcha tea.