Last weekend we were invited for diner at a friend’s place. This usually means I bring a bottle or wine, or help with the dishes afterwards. Anything but me getting involved in the actual making of the food generally ends up OK 🙂
To everyone’s surprise, I made the following bold announcement: I will make dessert today! And I’m going to do it all by myself!
It’s a good thing everyone was seated, as nobody was expecting this. The resulting silent stares also showed a painful lack of faith.
It was time to bring out…the box!
It’s easy to see where I got my confidence. Making the desert isn’t exactly a huge challenge, as conveniently displayed (in English!) on the back:
- Put a stick of pudding mix into the cup.
- Add 60ml of hot water (90° or higher) and stir well about 1 minute
- Cool it down in the refrigerator over 3 hours
Japan is really fond of these little red beans called Azuki (Adzuki). They are grown all around East-Asia and are used a lot in in all types of foods, like hot dishes, soups, porridge, confectionery, etc. Most popular however is the sweetened Azuki paste called Anko, which turns out to go really well with Matcha.
Check out this really nice matcha cake with anko filling for example. Would you be able to resist it? Right 😉
Alas, a freshly prepared cake like this will be out of reach for many of us westerners. Unless you feel like paying $$$ to fly it across oceans and continents in a couple of days. Not the best of ideas indeed.
No better excuse for preparing a warm beverage than the cold and drizzling days brought by fall. One could go for the traditional cup of coffee, or a Hot Chocolate maybe. But I have another idea that might catch your attention 😉
Yes it is time to get yourselves acquainted with a really good alternative: the Matcha Latte! And by good I mean better. Far better.
Because something magical happens when you combine Matcha and Milk!
You won’t be surprised then that I stocked up for an entire year of the just-add–water Matcha Latte powders during my visit to Japan in may, allowing me to give some guidance in the different brands that bring Matcha Latte to the masses. I will compare them based on a couple of parameters and wrap up by disclosing my favorite one, so you will know which one to buy! 🙂
From left to right we have:
- Matcha Milk powder by ItoEn, a Japanese Multinational specializing in Tea production. I drank a lot of their ready-in-a-bottle Green Tea with no added sugars like this one here. Something very obvious in Japan, but a lot harder to get in Belgium…
- The little box is in fact pure matcha powder from Kyoto by Marukyu Koyamaen. This way I can show you what undiluted matcha powder looks like in comparison
- Blendy Stick must be one of the most popular Japanese brands specialised in all sorts of powdered drinks. No way they could miss out on the Matcha flavour!
- GreenMax Matcha Milk is the odd duck in the lot. It’s a Taiwanese product that I added so we can compare this “foreign” product with the quality we get from the Japanese ones
- Nestlé, known mostly from their Kit-Kats, also has a stick based Matcha Latte offering
- Last, but certainly not least, we have Matcha Milk powder brought to us by Kataoka, another big tea name that distributes western teas like Twinnings in Japan. They have Matcha Milk powder with Matcha from the famous Tsujiri tea house. Is it worthy of using that name?