Matcha Magic

Before going to Japan last year, we’d had some matcha – or so I thought – in the shop, but sadly I had no idea how to prepare it or what it should taste like that I was selling people some absolutely rubbish stuff – I apologise unreservedly for this, and if you were one of the people I sold it to, please forgive me and call into the shop so that I can show you what matcha should be like.

When I say what matcha should be like, let’s face it, I only spent two weeks there, only had a few cups of matcha, and a few sweets made of matcha, so I can’t call myself an expert. But I do know more than a fair few people in the area, and I’m ok at wielding a chasen these days. So, I guess it’s worth calling into Seibiant to have a try of our range of very fresh matcha.

There are a few secrets to keeping matcha – once you’ve been brave enough to buy your own. Make sure that you keep it in the fridge, in an airtight jar, and use it within three months. The date on our packs is 12 months, but after three, I think the best you can do with it is make cookies or ice cream, or use it in a smoothie.

At Seibiant, we have three different matchas, and the cultivar makes a huge difference in taste. My personal favourite is Gokou cultivar, which is smooth, creamy and has a distinct broccoli taste. We also have Samidori, which is described as having a flavour of banana and rosemary, and then we have an organic matcha. At the moment we buy our matcha from Obubu Tea Farms, but the as Obubu don’t farm organically on the whole, the organic matcha comes from the Nakai farm, which is also in Wazuka. Organic matcha has a less intense colour, due to the farming methods.

Matcha Ice Cream recipe

360ml whole milk

165g caster sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2-3 tbsp. matcha

480ml whipping cream

Much of the method depends if you have an ice cream maker or not, I don’t so simply put my mixture in a container in the freezer, taking it out from time to time to stir. If you have a machine, then follow the instructions for your machine.

Combine the whole milk, sugar and salt in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat. Do not let the milk come to a boil, stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn off heat.

Sieve the matcha into a bowl. Transfer half a cup of the warm milk to a small container, add matcha and whisk vigorously until incorporated. Pour this mixture into the rest of the warm milk. Pour in the cream and stir to combine.

If you are using an ice cream maker, you will have had your bowl in the freezer for 2 hours. In the meantime, cover and refrigerate your mixture for at least two hours. Place your frozen bowl in the base of the ice cream maker and turn it on. Give the chilled mixture a good stir, before pouring it into the frozen bowl. Churn until desired consistency.

If you’re not using an ice cream maker, put your chilled mixture into a container in the freezer, taking it out to stir from time to time.

Serve, sprinkled with some sifted fresh matcha!

Matcha and White Chocolate Cookies 

This is the perfect recipe for matcha which is less fresh – the one you bought because it was cheaper, or you thought might be good for you, but which has been sitting in your cupboard for ages!

250g plain flour
1 tablespoon matcha 
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
220g soft brown sugar
170g unsalted butter, melted
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
270g white chocolate chips

Prep:15min › Cook:10min › Ready in:25min
Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 3. Grease baking trays or line with baking paper.
Sift flour, matcha, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl. Beat brown sugar, butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer until blended; beat in vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy.
Mix flour mixture into creamed butter mixture until dough is just blended; fold in chocolate chips using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough, 1 heaped tablespoon per cookie, onto the prepared baking tray 5cm apart.
Bake in the preheated oven until edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool cookies on the baking tray for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.