Candice Kumai is a former model-turned-chef and wellness writer—not to mention a five-time best-selling author. She's also a regular judge on Iron Chef America and Beat Bobby Flay. Suffice to say, girl knows her wellness stuff. Candice lives in New York City, and we're thrilled to have her on board as a quarterly contributor for THE/THIRTY. She'll be sharing her favorite recipes, mindfulness tips, and more. This month, it's all things matcha. Keep reading to see how to incorporate this buzzy ingredient into your daily routine.
Matcha, which my ancestors in Japan have been drinking since the 17th century, is a ceremonial-grade green tea powder.
It's naturally full of antioxidants, vitamin C, and l-theanine (which is an amino acid filled with plenty of magical benefits that keeps you chill and focused at the same time!). Antioxidants can also protect you gorgeous skin from aging and can help to fight free radicals that can cause wrinkles. Vitamin C + antioxidants found in matcha can help to boost more collagen in your skin. Free facial, anyone?
Matcha green tea powder may help to boost your metabolism, alleviate joint pain, and improve overall mental focus. I drink two cups of matcha every a.m., and this delicious, blended matcha smoothie is perfect pre- or post-workout.
Many athletes secretly enjoy matcha as their caffeine hit of choice, as it's not as "jolty" as coffee. Below you'll find many of my favorite matcha recipes full of matcha's earthy and umami love.
How to Make Matcha
Candice's Creamy Coconut Almond Milk Latte
Homemade matcha coconut latte? Yeah, girl, you know this Japanese-American girl has you covered! No excess chemicals, sweeteners or bs—just straight homemade love. Traditionally, you would make matcha with a chasen (a bamboo whisk) with 175- to 185-degree water. In this recipe, we're going to try it in a Vitamix.
Makes two lattes
2 teaspoons high-quality matcha (matcha love by ito en)
2 cups just-under boiling water (175 to 185 degrees F)
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut manna or coconut butter (you can find this at a health food store, in a jar)
1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened is best)
sweetener (if desired to taste, optional). I prefer mine unsweetened
Place your matcha powder in a bone-dry Vitamix. Add your hot water and coconut manna/butter, and carefully blend on low, and after a few seconds, carefully bring to medium-high power. Blend for about 10 to 15 additional seconds. Add sweetener if desired.
Pour into desired serving cups, and pour your favorite almond milk into the side of the bowl to top it off.
Candice's Matcha Dark Chocolate Truffles
With decadent dark chocolate, rich and earthy matcha powder, and heart-healthy pistachios, this is the perfect dessert for anyone looking for a feel-good antioxidant boost. Pack these truffles for a little midday pick-me-up when you're craving something sweet, and enjoy them with my creamy coconut almond matcha latte on the side.
Makes about three dozen truffles
3 cups premium dark chocolate chips
1⁄2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and pulsed in a food processor to a fine meal
1 tbsp. quality matcha powder, plus 1 tsp. for dusting, like Matcha Love
In a large saucepan, bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a simmer. Create a warm-water bath by placing a heatproof glass or stainless-steel bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Add the chocolate chips and heavy cream to the bowl. Mix well with a spatula to combine as the chocolate melts.
Remove the bowl from the heat, and transfer the chocolate mixture to a parchment paper–lined loaf pan or shallow bowl, and cool completely to room temperature. Place into the fridge for 90 minutes to solidify.
Using a small melon baller, scoop out the truffle mixture, and mold into 1-inch balls. If you don't have a melon baller, use your hands.
Fill a small bowl with the crushed pistachios, roll the truffles in the pistachios, pressing the nuts gently into the surface. Using a fine-mesh strainer or sifter, dust the truffles with the matcha powder.
Transfer the truffles to paper cupcake liners or a parchment paper–lined tin, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Which recipe are you the most excited to try? Let us know in the comments below.