Use Matcha In Your Savory Seasoning Blends For Balance

If you're new to the party and have only seen matcha in drink form while in line at your local coffee shop, it might be time to get acquainted with this Japanese green tea powder that's loaded with health benefits. The increasing popularity of matcha over the past several years has everyone looking for alternative ways to use it, and it's been slipping into baked goods like matcha muffins and sweet drinks like banana matcha smoothies.

As a drink, matcha can be very, very sweet. That's because many places serving matcha teas and lattes have added a sizable amount of sugar to the matcha powder. In its pure form, matcha is a Japanese green tea made from the whole, young leaves of the Camelia sinensis plant. Its bright green color is derived from high chlorophyll levels and the cooling process the leaves undergo following harvest.

The reigning flavor of matcha is earthiness: Notes of grassiness, a slight sweetness, and a definitive — but not overwhelming — bitterness are all present in matcha powder. This flavor profile makes it a perfect addition to savory dishes. The Japanese believe matcha embodies the very definition of savory, or umami, so it's no wonder folks have been incorporating matcha into seasoning blends for use in a variety of savory recipes. The tea marries well with dried and fresh herbs, such as rosemary, mint, and sage. Blend it with spices like citrus zest, coriander, cardamom, ginger, or turmeric for good balance (and extra antioxidants).

The best matcha for savory seasoning and how to use it

Before you add it to your favorite recipes, make sure you're buying the best matcha. There are lots of brands, and checking for origin, price, color, and texture will help you pick out the quality stuff. Once you've landed on a preferred variety, try adding it to a basic all-purpose spice blend recipe. Start slowly: Add ¼ teaspoon of matcha, and as you play around with the flavor, you can up the amount. Matcha doesn't have a terribly long shelf life. If you aren't using the seasoning blend right away, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than two months.

Since matcha combines well with Asian flavors, like ginger, use it to balance out a favorite Asian seasoning recipe like five-spice powder. This basic blend can be used in any stir-fry dish, but it can really help to elevate something like sweet and spicy five-spice duck legs. Matcha's earthy notes will pair beautifully with this game meat, and the bright green hue of the matcha powder will also add a lovely color to the recipe. As an addition to Middle Eastern cuisine, matcha's hints of grassiness work great with herbs like thyme and oregano. Add ¼ teaspoon of matcha to your go-to Za'atar spice blend, and sprinkle it on everything from hummus to roasted chicken. Keeping matcha on the shelf can help elevate your savory dishes — plus it makes a great cup of tea.