June 23, 2016

Book Review + Recipe: 'New Tastes in Green Tea', by Mutsuko Tokunaga

New Tastes in Green Tea © 2004, 2010 by Mutsuko Tokunaga. Photos by Kenji Shinohara

Matcha might not be the new chocolate but I have not disliked any matcha drinks, dishes, or desserts I have consumed. I have reviewed a couple of matcha cookbooks and what distinguishes Mutsuko Tokunaga's New Tastes in Green Tea from the other titles is the attention to Japanese green tea culture and matcha's place within it. The book is divided into four sections and two of these provide extensive detail about types of Japanese green teas, how to prepare them including tea utensils, and the cultivation and processing of green tea in Japan. The book is not limited to Japanese green tea, however. Ms. Tokunaga  provides a short history of tea and how different teas are processed. You will find recipes for contemporary sencha, gyokuro, and matcha drinks as well as blending herbs, black teas, and flowers with green teas. In a separate section are the recipes for dishes and desserts. There are five matcha spreads, many savories, and several cakes and sweets.

The flow of the book could be improved if drink and food recipes were consolidated in one section. I appreciate the compactness of the book but it does not stand out among other more traditionally sized cookbooks on my shelf. New Tastes in Green Tea contains numerous photographs but in the world of tea and cooking bigger might be better. It is worth noting that I have a 2016 paperback edition and it's likely that the 2004 hardcover edition is more substantial in terms of overall size and photo presentation. Overall, New Tastes in Green Tea is well written with a balanced mix of science and prose and well-placed and illustrative photographs.

New Tastes in Green Tea © 2004, 2010 by Mutsuko Tokunaga. Photos by Kenji Shinohara

I am sharing one of the matcha drink recipes from New Tastes in Green Tea with you today. The drink is Matcha Coconut, pictured bottom left. It is prepared with matcha, milk (I used whole cow's milk), coconut milk, and sugar. You could probably use the milk and sweetener of your choice. The finished drink was delicious though it was not photogenic because the coconut milk separated. Next time I will use coconut cream to achieve a smoother consistency. I could taste the earthy green notes of the matcha which were balanced by the cream flavor and texture of the two milks. The amount of sweetener called for was just enough to round out all the other ingredients.

Matcha Coconut Drink
serves 1

1 tsp matcha + 2 tsp hot water
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp sugar
a little aloe or any cut fruit

1. Mix the match and hot water, and stir briskly until the paste becomes smooth.

2. Add the milk, coconut milk, and sugar, adjusting the proportions according to taste.

3. Serve garnished with diced aloe of your favorite fruit.

Recipe courtesy of New Tastes in Green Tea © 2004, 2010 by Mutsuko Tokunaga.

I am looking forward to making the Matcha Yogurt Sour, pictured bottom right. One of the ingredients is condensed milk!

P.S. For more recipes check out my review of The Healthy Matcha Cookbook and The Matcha Miracle.

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