21 November 2008

Matcha Points

I have a problem.

I want matcha on everything now that it's been demystified for me. And not just alone, or in desserts. What about pairing it with salt?

Don't try to answer. I can tell you, it's fabulous.

As a precursor to next week's main eating event, I present this triple-threat snacksgiving. Or would it be a hat trick? Regardless, it's an unusual assortment of sweet, savory and crunchy that's much more enticing than the colon-blocking chips and dip. And since they all incorporate green tea, or at least pair beautifully with it, you can actually call these healthy.

From the front, there's matcha-roasted pumpkin seeds (saved from the next dish), simmered kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and matcha popcorn. To make the seeds and popcorn, just follow your basic recipe using canola oil, salt and ingredient-grade matcha- and no microwave popping business, please. Just make it in a pan on the stovetop. If you can boil water for tea, you can do this.

Simmered Kabocha
Makes: 4 servings.

1-pound piece kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), seeded and peeled, if desired
4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cut pumpkin into crescent-shaped wedges about 3/4-inch thick. Put it into a medium saucepan along with the water and sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes, until just tender.

2. With a slotted spoon, remove pumpkin to a bowl. Boil down the cooking liquid until 1 1/2 cups are left, about 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and salt, stir, and then place pumpkin back in saucepan. Simmer an additional minute, then let cool before serving.

This dish would be quite the stand-in for sweet potatoes on your Thanksgiving table, actually. And if you put out a few bowls of the pumpkin seeds and popcorn before the meal, everyone will be in such a good mood by the time they sit down, they won't even notice they're eating tofurkey. (They wouldn't have last year, if my sister hadn't opened her big mouth.)

The only challenge left is to try to take a bad picture of popcorn. I don't think it's possible.


avra romanowitz said...

oh, man, i wish there was a way this image could link to the instrumental classic of the same name.

it's soooo good, i can't stand it. check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N4ckFN96-k&feature=related

Helene said...

Love the idea of the kabocha instead of sweet potato! The matcha popcorn is very creative too!

Anonymous said...

love those snacks! love them!

montague said...

oooohhh, very interesting!

ps: just came back from india - visited a lot of tea shops - thought of you ;) maybe tea spot should go global!

Gar said...

I love both kabocha and matcha.

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