I recently moved from Tokyo to Amsterdam and have been enjoying a whole new world of ingredients to use in my cooking. And while this is a blessing and a rather exciting time, I’ve also been surprised by just how much I miss some particular Japanese flavors. One of these is matcha, a finely ground Japanese green tea.
WHAT IS MATCHA? (抹茶)
Matcha is commonly found and consumed all over Japan, primarily in traditional tea ceremonies where it is prepared and enjoyed in an articulate and beautiful style. This ceremonial grade tea is thick in consistency and often served with a piece of wagashi, a traditional Japanese sweet to help balance the bitterness of the tea. I’ve enjoyed this special experience in tea houses all over the country. From ornate gardens to ancient bathhouses, it’s an extraordinary ritual to savor.
However, this is only the beginning! Matcha is commonly used as an ingredient in all kinds of dishes too, especially sweets. I’ve seen (and before keto, eaten!) it in desserts such as castella, manju, pancakes, kakigori, waffles, dango, ice cream, monaka, mousse, mochi, cheesecake, parfait, donuts and more. This flavor is truly adored!
KETO AND MATCHA
I want to experiment with making some of these Japanese matcha treats more keto friendly, so am starting things off with this super simple matcha chia pudding. Like my coconut, blueberry and chai flavored chia puddings; the ingredients are super simple: white chia seeds, coconut milk, matcha and sweetener (if you like).
KETO MATCHA CHIA TOPPINGS
To make it pretty, you can top this delicious pudding with whatever you have handy. I opted for a sprinkling of matcha powder, some strawberries, flaked almonds and crushed pistachios; which add a nice little crunch to the texture. This one makes the perfect breakfast or even a special little dessert!
GRADES OF MATCHA
When selecting matcha, it’s important to know a little about the various grades as price points can vary wildly. There are two main categories, ceremonial grade (you guessed it, for tea ceremonies) and culinary (again, for cooking). Ceremonial grade is the best of the best, while culinary grade is broken down into further categories such as cafe, kitchen or classic.
A NOTE ON PROPORTIONS
In my experiments I’ve noticed the absorbency of chia seeds can slightly differ between brands, along with the thickness of coconut milks. This recipe and portions work well with the products that I have, but the portions may need a little adjusting to get the perfect pudding consistency.
- 2 tbs white chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- dash of sweetener to taste (optional)
- matcha powder
- flaked almonds
- Prepare the night before by mixing the chia seeds, coconut milk, matcha powder and sweetener in a bowl. Blend until the ingredients are well combined.
- Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
- In the morning the chia seeds will have absorbed the liquid and the mixture will have thickened into a pudding that’s ready to eat. This recipe is best served cold.
- Top the pudding with matcha powder, strawberries, pistachios and flaked almonds. Enjoy!