Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tea Around the World - Japan

Matcha is a powdered, very concentrated form of green tea, typically prepared during the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. The Tea Ceremony incorporates the four principals in Japanese philosophy; Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility. The long thin bamboo scoop, a chashaku is used during the tea ceremony to measure out the matcha. The bamboo whisk, a chasen is used to fully incorporate the matcha and the water to make a very strong communal cup of tea that is passed around to the participants in the tea ceremony. If the color green has a fragrance, it is Matcha; it literally smells green! Because a cup of prepared Matcha can be very bitter, it is usually served with sweets. Matcha is also used to flavor many things, from candies to noodles to green tea ice cream.

Green Tea Ice Cream

1/3 c. water
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. matcha, powdered green tea
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. light cream

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar melts; and simmer the syrup for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 1 Tbsp. of the syrup with the powdered green tea, then add that mixture to the syrup in the saucepan, and stir until evenly mixed. Add the heavy cream and the light cream. Chill. Pour into an ice cream freezer, and freeze according to instructions.

1 comment:

La Tea Dah said...

Love the post!

The guest presenter at the last tea party my mother ever conducted was mom's friend, Hitomi. She explained the Japanese Tea Ceremony and showed us how to make Japanese green tea. She honored my mother by offering her the first sip from the cup and saying something special about her. Traditionally the cup is passed to more than one person --- an interesting tradition! My mother passed away about three months later; this tea party was one of the last things on her 'goals' list. She was so delighted that day to have her friends and community people in her home.