Matcha (抹茶?, pronounced [mat.tɕa]), also maccha, refers to finely milled or fine powder green tea. The Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavour and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery). Matcha is a fine ground, powdered, high quality green tea and not the same as tea powder or green tea powder.
Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make gyokuro. The preparation of matcha starts several weeks before harvest up to 20 days, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids. –Wikipedia
If you are a regular reader you know I love Asian flavors, particularly those of Japan, and how to fuse those flavors with American style barbecue and grilling. A few years ago I used an herbal tea to great a fantastic lemon bring for a turkey I was smoking so when the folks from Republic of Tea invited me to stop by their booth and check out their U-Matcha teas I knew I had to take them up on the offer.
I was intrigued by the thought of using something like green tea as an ingredient in a rub, BBQ sauce or some other type of seasoning. The Republic of Tea stone-ground Japanese matcha green tea is like a very fine powder and is perfect for cooking.
Cooking with the tea turned out to be the challenge for me. Not a challenge in the sense that it was difficult, but more of a challenge because of the versatility of the product. After some trial and error I figured a brine and glaze for poultry would be the best way to go.
There are a couple of things about cooking with U-Matcha green tea that might take a little get used to if you are as unfamiliar with green teas as I am. The first is how fine the tea actually is ground. I’m not sure I’ve ever used an ingredient this fine. Now I know why in the Japanese tea ceremony how the tea is whisked is so important. The second thing about cooking with green tea is just how green it actually is. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Larry, its green tea, of course it’s green.” Okay, I get that, but it’s really green and it makes everything it touches green. (As a side note…don’t use the new dish towels your wife just bought to clean up a little spilled green tea.)
Premium U•Matcha™ Ginger is unlike regular green tea, these tender, shade-grown leaves are ground to a fine powder creating a spicy kick of flavors in baked goods or savory dishes.
The brine, the recipe is below, added a nice, mild tea/ginger flavor. Personally, because I love ginger I’d like it to have a little more of the zing ginger has, but it’s easy enough to add more ginger if you want that too. You will notice the recipe includes pineapple juice. The acid in pineapple juice will turn your chicken mushy if you brine to long. My recommendation is that if you are brining chicken pieces you not go longer than 4 hours and if using a whole chicken not longer than 6 hours.
- 4 tablespoons Morton Kosher Salt
- 1 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup hot water
- 3 cups ice cold water
- 2 tablespoons Republic of Tea U-Matcha Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Korean Chili Flake**
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1 teaspoon Republic of Tea U-Matcha Ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon Wasabi powder
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- Salt to taste
- Water as needed
- Place the salt, hot water and tea in a small saucepan and gently heat and whisk until the salt has dissolved and the tea has been incorporated into the water. Do not bring to a boil, heat just enough to dissolved the salt.
- Pour hot salted water into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, mix completely.
- At this point the liquid should be cool. Make sure it's cool before you add the chicken.
- Let brine for four hours.
- In a medium skillet combine all ingredients over medium heat. (I like to use a skillet because the larger surface area will reduce the sauce quicker. But i also means you'll have to pay more attention so it doesn't burn.
- Reduce the juice, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and the color of cola. You should end up with about a half a cup of glaze.
- Grill your chicken and glaze a couple of minutes before it's done.
NOTE: I received free samples of U-Matcha Ginger green tea from Republic of Tea. The recipe and opinions are mine.