Japan Society | Candice Kumai, Ito En & Matcha

Posted on April 22, 2014 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

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

Serves 4-6

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

Directions:

Soba noodles

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.

Finally...

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!

XO,

CdS

 

Posted in Candice Kumai, Culinary Tea, Earth Day, Green Tea, Ito En, Japan Society, Japanese Tea, Matcha, Mitsuwa

Ippodo NYC | Matcha & Gyokuro Tea Workshop

Posted on January 07, 2014 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

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)

212-370-0609 

 

Till we meet again for tea!

XO,

CdS

Posted in Gyokuro, Ippodo, Japanese tea, Kajitsu, Matcha, New York City, Tea workshop

Ippodo Tea Company | Tokyo Marunouchi & NYC

Posted on July 30, 2013 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

I only had five hours in Kyoto on my latest trip so I had to visit Ippodo's Tea House in Tokyo which is only a few stops from our apartment.

Easy to find and conveniently located in Marunouchi, right next to the Imperial Palace. It's about a five minute walk from the train station. 

The Kaboku Tea Room is there for you to prepare your own tea; matcha, gyokuro, sencha and bancha. They open daily 11 to 7 and offer tea classes and events regularly.  

You can buy tea and other fine tea accessories in the shop to take home for yourself or to gift to loved ones. I picked up some tea bags (yes, they sell tea bags), but even these are unique. The labels of the individual tea bags have a slit in them that firmly fasten to the rim of the tea cup or to the spout of the teapot.

They are super generous when it comes to sampling their teas. They fully encourage you to try their teas before making any purchases. That's always an excellent sign : ) Although there are many locations throughout Japan you can purchase Ippodo Tea, please note that tea tastings and take-out service is not available at the department stores (only at the main store in Kyoto and Tokyo Marunouchi Store). The kind people at Ippodo were quick to tell me about the shop that recently opened in New York City. See below for more details on NYC store. I told them I couldn't wait to visit. 

And what a selection they have...


They provide a take-out service for those on the go. They were promoting their new Zojirushi thermos (for both cold and hot beverages) when I was there. The artwork on it is the same that's on the disposable cups you see here. It's also perfect for preparing matcha without having to use the whisk. Chihiro, from the NYC location, informed me that you can simply shake and serve. 

You can also enjoy tea with dessert inside the shop. Now to New York City...


As soon as I got back to New York I ran out during my lunch break to check out Ippodo on 39th Street. They don't have their own tea shop and share a space with Kajitsu, but you can still sample teas and buy select teas to take home.

 

Chihiro was kind enough to prepare some tea for us. She's originally from Nara (where I have family) so we chatted a little about that. 


I finally decided on the Uji-Shimizu (which is chilled and slightly sweetened) because it was crazy hot outside. 


I am so curious about the artwork on the cups and thermos. Chihiro told me that Miss Shiokawa drew all the animals for Ippodo. I wonder why they chose those animals? I wonder if they have any special significance? In any case, I know I will be a regular at Ippodo even though they don't have any seating yet. 

Ippodo Tea New York

125 East 39th Street (between Lexington Ave. & Park Avenue) inside 

Daily 11am-7pm closed on Sundays


Happy tea time!

XO, 

CdS 



Posted in Ippodo, matcha, New York City, Tokyo

 

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