When I received word that one of my favorite cookbook writers, Candice Kumai, was going to do a cooking demo and talk at the Japan Society, I just had to get tickets. I had last met and spoken with Candice at an Elie Tahari event when she was promoting her book, "Pretty Delicious: Lean and Lovely Recipes for a Healthy, Happy New You". This time she was here to promote her newest book "Clean Green Drinks: 100+ Cleansing Recipes to Renew & Restore Your Body and Mind". I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy and preview the book before its release and so far it's really meeting all my expectations.
Ito En, JAL, UNITED and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ were the official sponsors of the event. Kirin Beer generously donated beer and Cuisinart provided the ice cream maker (which I have to thank you for because now my mother wants the exact same professional ice cream maker for Mother's Day).
I was pretty excited to see how Candice was going to incorporate Matcha into her sweet and savory dishes. That's where Ito En comes in.
You can purchase these items at their Matcha Love store located within Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ.
President of Japan Society introducing Rona Tison, Sr. VP of Corporate Relations at ITO EN North America Inc., and Candice before they hit the stage.
Candice's heartfelt introduction really made me like her even more. She talked a little bit about her Japanese-American heritage/upbringing and it really resonated with me.
She started with a Matcha Crusted Halibut in a Light Matcha Dashi followed by a Coconut Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (non-dairy).
There was a Q & A session and then everyone got a chance to try the food. Yum, yum and more yum.
(Counterclockwise) Soba Noodles with Matcha Dashi topped with Matcha Crusted Halibut, Green Matcha Tea Loaf Cake and a Green Tea Smoothie. Everything was absolutely sensational!
I'm going to share Candice Kumai's halibut recipe with you because it is absolutely delicious (and it's great for you).
Matcha Crusted Halibut in a Light Matcha Dashi
1 1/2 lb fresh halibut or cod
1 pack of 8-10 oz. of buckwheat noodles, cook according to the directions on the package
Coconut oil spray (unrefined)
Sea salt to taste
Dry ingredients for the Pistachio Matcha Crust:
3/4 cup raw pistachios
1 tablespoon matcha powder, Ito En's Matcha Love
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Matcha Dashi Ingredients:
7-8 cups of water
4 large stalks of kombu
1 teaspoon matcha powder, whisk in before service, make sure all matcha powder is dissolved
1. Cook your soba noodles, strain with cool water and set aside.
For the Matcha Dashi:
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add your water and kombu, and lightly simmer for approx. 45 minutes to one hour.
2. Whisk in matcha tea powder until all is dissolved right before service.
For the Pistachio Matcha Crust:
1. Place all dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse until it resembles a crust, not into a powder. Transfer to a shallow dish.
2. Prep your fish, portion out into 4-6 servings, spray with coconut oil and crust the flesh side of the fish with the pistachio crust in a shallow dish. Dust with sea salt.
3. Lightly coat a stainless steel saute pan with coconut oil spray. Place over medium heat. Add in your fish and cook until firm to the touch.
Plate Up/To Serve:
1. Place one serving of cooked soba noodles into each bowl, add 1-2 ladles of matcha dashi and place cooked fish on top of noodles. Serve hot with a dust of extra matcha (sift) or pistachio crust.
I was lucky to get my copy signed and even got a little goody bag compliments of Ito En. Candice's book goes on sale today!
Happy Earth Day!
Ippodo held their first tea workshop in October of last year and I had the privilege of attending. Participants were invited to learn how to prepare matcha, which is very popular in Japan, and Gyokuro, an extremely select grade of Japanese tea. We were also promised delicious treats to compliment our teas.
I wrote about Ippodo when I visited them in Tokyo and NYC this past summer.
Ippodo shares a space with Kajitsu, recently named one of New York's Best New Restaurants for 2013 by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
Incredibly attentive and knowledgeable staff...
Preparing Gyokuro Kanro with chilled water. We used 10g (2 tbsp) of leaves, 3oz (80ml) of water and steeped it in a pot that holds approximately 120cc of water (4.1oz) for...
15 minutes! GASP! 15 minutes is a long time. This amount of leaves can make up to 3 pots of tea.
Gyokuro is grown in the shade for about three weeks before harvest. This is part of the magic that gives it its exquisite sweetness. The more the tea leaves are exposed to sunlight the sharper they become in flavor (i.e. Sencha and Bancha) and astringency. Astringency is reduced by shading, resulting in a sweeter, less astringent taste.
Another difference between shaded and non-shaded green teas is the size of their tea leaves (as demonstrated by our instructor). Bancha and Yanagi tea leaves are larger in size because they are the mature tea leaves; Gyokuro and Matcha are smaller in size and are younger.
This particular Gyokuro was without a doubt mind-blowing! The liquor was a golden pale yellow. When I poured my tea out of the pot it was thick and almost syrup like in consistency. The taste! Oh the taste. It was rich, savory (almost like a meaty broth), rich in umami flavor. This is definitely one of those teas you share with friends.
Yanagi had a more delicate taste and more subtle notes in aroma.
The Sencha has a stronger fragrance and aroma, much more complex.
Gyokuro teatime paired with Yokan sweet made in house upstairs at Kajitsu. It is very important to balance out the correct amount of sweet when pairing with Japanese teas. We were told the chef was particular in the amount of sugar used in preparing this Yokan for our tasting.
It all comes together perfectly. Well balanced in every way, pleasing all the senses.
Sifting the matcha powder is such a crucial step...
and make sure not to over whisk. Ten strokes for ten seconds is plenty. It is important to move the whisk in a back and forth motion. If you whisk too hard or too long, the tea will become overly bitter.
They had these sweets flown in from Japan for the matcha pairing.
They sell so many lovely tea accessories that it's difficult to choose just one!
Ippodo Tea, New York
125 East 39th Street, New York 10016
11 AM to 7 PM (closed on Sundays)
Till we meet again for tea!