Soup and tea? A matcha made in heaven!
Buenos Dias friends! This week we are continuing our 6 course meal with something sweet and refreshing. After our first dish (Kabuse Parm Bruschetta), we are shooting for something a bit lighter, but still satisfying, so this week we have a light and delicious soup. I’d like to invite you all to try to make this very easy and very tasty soup, so without further ado, Chilled Cucumber, Matcha, and Avocado Mint soup! Cucumber and mint is an amazingly good combination, then the thickness and semi bitter notes of the matcha make this to be a not to filling, but satisfying continuation to our meal.
Matcha is the heart, lungs, and brain, to the world of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. It has become a staple drink for those who need a quick boost of energy, or those who want to practice an ancient art to the Japanese people. Matcha is truly a delicious drink, but recently has become a bit more than that. Matcha has been exploding in popularity all over the world, from being an ingredient in almost every bakery, to being apart of a 6 dollar frappuccino at Starbucks, no one can deny that matcha is here to stay. With all that being said, drinking grade matcha that you’d use to drink, and cooking grade matcha that would be used for a cake, are very different and can make or break a dish. So what is the difference?
Both cooking grade and ceremonial grade matcha are the same thing, with the difference in quality. Ceremonial grade will be made from the very young and tender leaves of the harvest, this will make the flavor of the matcha much richer and more umami. Cooking grade matcha is still the same leaves, just leaves that have been harvested after ceremonial grade leaves have been picked. The fact that ceremonial is to be enjoyed pure and cooking is to be mixed into something else means that cooking grade doesn’t need to be as clean and pure. The flavor of ceremonial grade is very delicate and specific, where as cooking grade is much more robust and bitter; meaning that cooking grade flavor will cut through other flavors making it easier to taste the essence of the matcha. Do not get it confused, they are both the same high quality for what you want, one is not better than the other, they are just used for different things.
So with all that being said, let’s get to cooking with some matcha! This recipe is phenomenal for many different things, use it as a sauce for pork chops, eat it straight up, or as a ramp for something more; this recipe is a versatile one. I’d recommend playing around with this one. Want to add some heat? Blend a jalapeno into it for a little bit of a cold hot kick! Want to lean into something more summer-ish? Strain and add watermelon juice! Heck, add milk and some vanilla ice cream and make a milkshake! This recipe is fun and allows you to be creative, so have fun and play around. At the end of the day, as long as you’re having fun and eating good food, you’ve done well!
5 Japanese Cucumbers (2 english cucumbers)
3 tbsp mint
5 tbsp Dill
5 tbsp Parsley
5 tbsp Tarragon
2 tbsp Yuzu juice (or lemon juice)
2 cloves of garlic
1 quart of Greek yogurt
½ cup of room temperature milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil to drizzle
14 grams of cooking grade Matcha powder
We are going to start by making a simple syrup. Take a cup of water and a cup of sugar and place in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. When the sugar has fully dissolved take it off the heat and set aside to let cool.
Take your Cucumbers and cut them in half. With a spoon begin to scrape the seeds out of the core, this will make for a much smoother and enjoyable soup. Cut the cucumber into rough 1 inch cubes and put into a blender, but save some pieces for garnish later.
Grab your blender but keep in mind that we aren’t looking to emulsify this soup, we want a little thickness, so make sure your blender won’t turn our ingredients into a very thin liquid. Fine dice your Dill, Tarragon, Mint, and Garlic. Add all to the blender along with the yuzu juice. Dice the avocado and add to the blender. Pulse on low until there are no longer large chunks of cucumber and place in the fridge to chill.
Add any extra ingredients that you’d like at this point to add some kick. This soup is delicious but can also act like a base to something more, so be creative!
Next pour room temperature milk into a bowl and add the 15 grams of Matcha. Whisk until shiney and until no clumps remain. It is very important to get this and smooth as possible, and any dry bits will be very unpleasant to eat.
Once your Matcha/ Milk mixture is complete, take the Cucumber soup base out of the fridge and begin to reblend on low. Slowly (very important you add this a little at a time) pour the matcha into the cucumber base. Add the simple syrup and add salt and pepper to taste.
Once complete, seal and place in the fridge for no shorter then an hour for it to set. Before serving dice the remaining cucumber into small bite sized pieces and place on top, drizzle olive oil and serve.
So that’s all there is! This is a great way to way to start or continue a meal, good for a light snack, and great to base to play around with. The mixture of all our aromatics, the mint, and the refreshing cool cucumber make for a delicious soup for any time. This recipe takes almost no time and is very cheap, which is good if you need something amazing in a pinch, or want to save a little cash but don’t want to sacrifice quality. So until next time, keep drinking spectacular teas and keeping cooking and eating delicious food!
Kai, Chef, Obubu Intern