Noodles are life! But matcha? Not so much. I’ve never really been into any tea. But, there’s more to tea than just flavor! Green tea and matcha are supposedly good for you in all kinds of different ways. And hey, there’s caffeine in there too! I LOVE caffeine. Maybe I just need to be persistent – kind of like with celery – and eventually I’ll fall in love with matcha?Jump to Recipe
Matcha is finely ground green tea powder, originating from China. Matcha has been a quintessential part of Japanese culinary heritage for almost a thousand years. Whilst green tea in general is infused into the drink by steeping, matcha is blended into drinks and consumed. Just mix it up with your liquid of choice, and you’re done. That’s putting it really very simply though, there’s a lot more to matcha than that… Especially in Japan there are traditional spritual and ceremonial aspects to matcha which I really want to learn more about! But for the time being, I’m just trying to get acquainted with the flavor – not the entire thousand year old history of matcha! Baby steps, you know…
Wikipedia tells me that matcha is made from tea leaves grown in the shade, and the leaves are covered up before harvest. This way the leaves develop more amino acids and a sweeter flavor. Well, I can’t make comparisons about the sweetness, since I don’t drink any tea whatsoever. But as far as I can tell, matcha tastes like grass to me. Most drinks and foods made with matcha seem to be sweetened and I really am not into anything sweet. Hence, I’ve just never been interested in matcha.
I finally got in the mood for matcha, when a cute little contemporary matcha room called Matcha Crew opened in Helsinki. I popped by one day out of curiosity and ordered perhaps the second (?) matcha drink of my life. I ended up picking a “Summertime happiness” – a cold matcha soda with yuzu marmalade – and a miracle happened: the next day, I found myself back at Matcha Crew, ordering another Summertime happiness.
Perhaps my issue with matcha was not the flavor, but what it’s typically combined with? Sugar, milk, cream… Matcha itself actually has a quite interesting, complex, earthy flavor with tannins, bitterness … and yes, the grassiness. Maybe I can figure out some matcha flavor combinations more enjoyable to me?
Having gulped down a few Summertime happiness in a week, I decided to get some matcha suitable for cooking. But the kind people of Matcha Crew wanted to gift me with their product instead! Thank you so much <3
*Product in pictures was gifted by Matcha Crew*
At this point it was early June. My go-to summer dishes are all kinds of cold noodles, so I ended up brainstorming a matcha and yuzu dressing for some cold soba noodles. A kind of homage to the drink that got me into matcha to begin with!
Hello caffeine my old friend
I ended up using matcha soba with my matcha yuzu dressing, and quickly realized that this is not a late night snack, unless you want to stay up all night. Matcha has something like 18.9– 44.4 milligrams of caffeine per gram of tea (according to this source) and a portion of my matcha noodles has 2-3 grams of matcha.
PLING, you’re awake!
As a reference, the daily recommended intake of matcha is something around 2-4 grams (although different sources give different numbers…). One teaspoon of matcha weighs 2 grams.
The caffeine buzz from matcha is however different from coffee. Again, the sources say different things, but apparently matcha has less caffeine than coffee, but it gives you a more long lasting and steady sort of energy than the sudden spike and quick crash of, say, a double espresso. If I have a bowl of these noodles for lunch, I definitely don’t need an afternoon coffee (nor matcha) anymore. This stuff is potent!
Matcha noodles with matcha dressing
- 200 g (matcha) soba noodles (+ salt for the cooking water)
- 15 cm piece of cucumber (and/or other crunchy fresh veggies like sugar snap peas, new cabbage, carrots…)
- 100 g (daikon) radish (pickled or fresh!)
- 150 g honey dew or cantaloupe melon (or blueberries, white currants, kiwi … any seasonal fruits and berries you like!)
- 1-2 green onions
- 1-2 dl shredded herbs (loosely packed) (shiso, mint, chervil, tarragon, cilantro, thai basil…)
- 1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (to garnish!)
- 2-3 tsp matcha (depending on how strong you like it!)
- 2 tbsp yuzu juice (or lemon/lime juice)
- 3 tbsp white tahini
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 small clove of garlic
- ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1-1½ tsp agave syrup
- ¼+ tsp salt (= to taste)
- 1-2 tsp grated ginger or ginger shot
- 1-2 tsp crispy chili & garlic oil
- ½-1 tsp yuzukosho
- 1 rkl pistachio or pumpkin seed oil
- When you make the matcha dressing for the first time, take time to adjust the flavors to your liking. Remember though that the sauce needs to be strong, in order to season well the bowl of noodles.
- In case you want to make this dish hot, don’t heat the dressing up to higher than 80°C or the flavor and colour of the matcha might suffer.
- Mix all the ingredients for the matcha dressing. Adjust the flavor to your liking. Optional: add in ginger and/or yuzukosho and/or crispy chili oil to taste, plus drizzle in some pumpkin seed or pistachio oil for added body.
- Cook the soba noodles in salted water, as instructed in the package (typically 4-5 minutes). While the noodles are cooking, chop up the veggies and fruits to bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the green onions and finely shred the herbs of your choice.
- Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them in cold water and drain well. Mix the sauce and half of the veggies, herbs and fruits with the noodles. Portion the mixture to two bowls.
- Add the remaining veggies, fruits and herbs on top of the noodles. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve!
Ps. Store the opened bag of matcha air tightly in the fridge and us within a month from opening.
Are you a friend of matcha? Do you use it in cooking? I’d love to hear your ideas for me what I should do with matcha next!