NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (February 2021): MATCHA (抹茶) - The Treasured Tea of Japan
MATCHA NAMARIBUSHI (SMOKED SKIPJACK TUNA) IN OLIVE OIL
Bonito (skipjack tuna) is an important part of Japanese cuisine. It can be found dried and smoked into a hard block known askatsuobushi which can be shaved into flakes and can also be found providing umami toichiban dashi(first soup stock).
Here bonito is steamed, boiled and smoked only once (as opposed to katsuobushi which is smoked and dried multiple times), leaving it chunky, soft and easily separated using chopsticks. This style of bonito is known asnamaribushi.
Honyama Seicha creates this special Matcha Namaribushi in Olive Oil using a matcha paste made from 100% organic Motoyama Tea grown in the mountains of Shizuoka. Motoyama has been a tea producing region for 800 years and for a century, Honyama Seicha has been using a traditional charcoal burning technique to make their tea, all under the careful eye of skilled craftsmen with over 20 years of experience. The resulting tea adds a unique mountain sweetness and aroma to this namaribushi which is then combined with olive oil and a dash of salt.Ingredients:Namaribushi (smoked skipjack tuna), olive oil, matcha paste, salt
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is or with a dash of salt or soy sauce. Mix with pasta or dice and add to salads or miso soup.
Producer: Yamamasa Koyamaen
Yamamasa Koyamaen has a history reaching back to 1861. They’re located in Uji, a town just outside of Kyoto that is among the top three tea producing areas in Japan. Of all the matcha made in Japan, Uji matcha is arguably the finest. The region’s hilly terrain, high quality soil, mild temperatures and humidity contribute to creating an environment for growing some of the best matcha in the world.
In recognition of the artistry behind their matcha products, Yamamasa Koyamaen calls their production area a studio, not a factory, and their values focus on taste, quality and trust. Their president, Yoichi Koyama, served as the President of the Kyoto Prefectural Tea Cooperative for five years and was awarded the Autumn Yellow Ribbon in 1998 by Emperor Akihito, in recognition of his significant contributions to the development of the tea industry.
Tencha (lit. “ground tea”) is the name for the green tea leaves used to make matcha. The leaves are shaded for approximately 3 weeks before being harvested, steamed then dried before being destemmed and ground in stone mills to make the fine powder known as matcha. Almost all tencha is ground to make matcha so it’s a rare treat to find tencha outside of matcha production, even in Japan.
Yamamasa Koyamaen creates their Edible Matcha from tencha, rather than grinding it to make powdered matcha. Tencha has a distinctive shape - small, dark green flakes (almost like flakes of seaweed) - making it harder to infuse as tea compared to typical green tea leaves. Instead, it can easily be used as a topping for both savory and sweet foods, providing the familiar earthy tones of green tea.
Suggested uses: Follow the recipe provided to make Yuzu Matcha Pasta, add it to stir fries or roasted vegetables, or as a topping forochazuke (hot tea poured on rice). It can also be used in sweets, sprinkled after baking on cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, or as a topping for vanilla ice cream.Note: Not recommended for brewing tea.
MATCHA CANDY (抹茶飴)
This beautifully designed candy has a mellow and sweet green tea flavor. The candies are made with Yamamasa Koyamaen’s finest shade grown, stone milled Japanese matcha. Savor them slowly to enjoy their long-lasting flavor. Perfect for green tea lovers!
Ingredients:Sugar, starch syrup, matcha
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.
MIKOGE MATCHA SUGAR
Producer:Kurumaya Shogato Honpo
This trio (mikoge) of Matcha Sugar candies brings the taste of the Japanese tea ceremony to you. One traditional way of serving matcha at tea ceremonies isusucha (thin tea). This tea is whipped, creating a frothy layer of bubbles on the surface of the tea. Usucha can be served with a type ofwagashi (Japanese sweets) calledhigashi, a dry sweet made from rice and the finest quality of Japanese sugar pressed together. Guests first eat the higashi and then drink the usucha, while the sweetness from the higashi lingers in their mouths. The clean, simple sweetness of the higashi perfectly complements the earthy, multi-layered complex bitterness of the matcha - a symbol of the sweet and bitter aspects of life.
Our producer, Kurumaya Shogato Honpo, established its shop 300 years ago and continues to make its sweets the same way it has been for centuries. These Matcha Sugar treats are made from only sugar and matcha and are the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, just like the flavors enjoyed at Japanese tea ceremonies. To make the candies, matcha and sugar are boiled over charcoal and then each candy is shaped by hand. The candies have a long history dating back over 150 years ago. Legend has it that the candies were first made to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Fumai, a feudal lord in Japan. Resist the urge to crunch the candies. Let the candies slowly melt to enjoy the sweet and bitter flavors of life.
Ingredients:Sugar (domestic), matcha (Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture)
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.
Crunchy, roasted, sugar coated peanuts have made their way into the world of Japanese snacks, with 78% of domestic Japanese peanuts being grown in Chiba prefecture.
These Matcha Peanuts from Mametomi deliver the bitter taste of matcha with a satisfying crunch and creamy nuttiness of the peanut tucked inside. Founded in 1873, Mametomi has been creating handmade bean sweets for over 100 years. Each snack is handmade, first by sprinkling the beans with water for several days to soften them, then they’re traditionally roasted and coated 3-4 times with a fine sugar for sweetness. In addition to the matcha, another unique ingredient iskanbaiko, which is made from mochi (glutinous rice) that has been baked, dried, and ground. Mametomi has won over 14 awards for its bean sweets, including the highest prize of the Takamatsunomiya Honorary President's Award at the 16th National Confectionery Exposition in 1965.
Ingredients:Peanuts (domestic), sugar, wheat flour, kanbaiko (made from mochi), starch, matcha, vegetable oils (including soybeans), baking powder
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. Delicious with a cup of tea (we recommend a green tea from our Japanese Green & Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package) or coffee.
This special tea is the perfect balance of earthy, subtly sweet flavors from organic matcha combined with Japan’s beloved citrus fruit:yuzu (柚子). Yuzu is best described as a cross between a tart lemon, a sweet mandarin orange, and a fragrant grapefruit and lends its unique citrus flavors to this Yuzu Matcha.
Kanes’ tea masters manage the entire tea making process from growing the tea leaves to creating the final product. The deep, crisp flavor of their matcha comes from the quality and freshness of their tea leaves. Their traditional farming method relies on the microorganisms in the soil, making it resistant to disease and pests, and follows a natural cycle, cultivated without chemicals and producing no waste.
Ingredients:Organic matcha, pesticide-free yuzu powder
Suggested uses: To make one cup of yuzu matcha, first mix 1 tsp with 20ml of hot water, stir, then add the remaining cup of hot or cold water. You can use milk instead of water or make a Yuzu Matcha Latte using the recipe included. You can also add it to pasta using the Yuzu Match Pasta recipe provided.