If you love matcha green tea, and sweet, cold treats, this is the recipe for you. And with way less fat and sugar than ice cream shop froyo, you can eat this every day. Yep, every day. Treat yourself to real frozen yogurt with the added benefits of protein, calcium and potent antioxidants. And no thickeners, stabilisers and excess sugar.
What’s not to love?
I had my first taste of real green tea ice cream – appropriately enough – on a trip to Japan. Walking up to the entrance of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, in a suburb of Kyoto, Andrew and I saw the most beautiful young women dressed in the most exquisite and colourful kimonos, coming round a corner (teetering on those amazing wooden shoes I might add). While gawping at their beauty I saw that they were eating ice creams – one ice cream was glossy black with gold leaf, and the other a vivid grass-green. The girl with the gold leaf had used some of it to paint her lips. They shimmered brightly as she walked in the low evening sun. Just stunning. I later found out that she was having black sesame ice cream. And, of course, the less showy young lady was tucking into a matcha ice cream. I tried both on the trip and love them equally. No gold leaf for me though. 🙂
Since then I have had matcha ice cream on a few occasions. But none has matched that first taste. It was partly the ice cream, scooped by a very elderly lady – after some pantomime pointing by me – into a crisp cone. But mostly it was the magic of slowly walking through the sprawling, soaring forest of bamboo – seemingly endless. In my mind the forest was a maze, and our heads were craned high in admiration and not a little trepidation as the sun set on this eerily beautiful place. A fine place to eat an ice cream.
I’d more or less forgotten about the ice cream as desserts of any kind are not something I often have. I always complain that ice cream makes me thirsty. And I hate feeling thirsty. I’m also not keen on the too-sweet taste of even the best commercial ice creams and frozen yogurts.
A few things triggered me to make this green tea frozen yogurt: 1) I drink cold matcha tea everyday; 2) it is still fairly warm here in Scotland; 3) I thought how good a tweak of the sweet sesame topping that is integral to this Tenderstem broccoli side dish recipe would be on it.
You might need to trust me on this, but honestly, this topping makes my matcha frozen yogurt phenomenally tasty. Either sprinkle it on or blend it in when it’s almost finished freezing. Your tastebuds will thank you for it.
If you don’t make the ice cream, buy a commercial version and make the simple, crumbly-toasty sesame topping, and taste what I mean. Expect an explosion of umami, but in the most appropriate way possible for an ice cream. The whole deal will make the most perfect dessert following any east-Asian meal; or just the simplest of thrown together stir fries (which mine mostly are). There. Are you convinced?
What does the matcha frozen yogurt taste like?
In common with the best frozen yogurts, it will taste fresh, light and ever so slightly tangy, tempered by the florality of the added honey. The green tea gives it an indescribable otherness – umami, a bit herbal, slightly bitter in the aftertaste. Your brain’s pleasure centres will be most intrigued!
What do I need for this matcha frozen yogurt recipe?
Japanese Culinary Grade Matcha Green Tea Powder . This is the cheaper stuff; more punchy than the mild “ceremonial grade” kind that is typically drunk. If all you have is the posh ceremonial stuff use it, but honestly the cheaper stuff is best for this.
Full fat yogurt. Preferably Greek. We need the fat for this to freeze to an easily scoopable density. You can use plant based yogurt. Just ensure it has at least 10 per cent fat.
Sweetener of some kind. I use acacia honey and pure stevia to achieve a mildly sweet frozen yogurt. Start with my recommended amounts and taste the mixture before freezing. You want it to be just slightly too sweet for your normal preference. Freezing dulls our perception of sweet so we need to add a bit more. If you have ever slurped up melted ice cream you will have found it sweeter than when it was in its frozen state.
Vodka! Just a little bit will help this lower sugar and lower fat (compared to commercial stuff) from freezing solid. If you replace 150ml or so of the yogurt for cream and add more honey this will also keep the yogurt scoopable. If you are eating it on the day of making you don’t need to add the vodka or extra fat/sugar. And this is probably what you will want to do. Obviously skip the vodka if you avoid alcohol or if this is for children. In any case, you do not taste it at all. It is basically ice cream anti-freeze.
Ice cream machine. This is recommended but not absolutely necessary. If you like ice cream and want to avoid all of the additives and fillers that are in many brands, making your own is the way to go. I currently use this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker , but I’ve had a Magimix Le Glacier Ice Cream Maker in the past. Both are fine for the average home cook (under £70). You can also get an attachment for some stand mixers, so that could be a space saving option. All of the cheaper options require you to have space in your freezer to store the insulated bowl before using it in the machine itself.
What to do if you don’t have an ice cream machine
Because most frozen yogurts depend on blending frozen fruit to achieve their texture, it’s just a matter of using a food processor or blender then scooping it into a sealable container. For this recipe you can’t really do that.
What you can do is:
1. Dollop the mixture in some ice cube trays, freeze solid for four hours then pulse in your blender just before you wish to have it. This way you can take out just what you need. Or you can blend it all, scooping down the sides of your food processor/blender, and spoon it all into a freezer container.
2. You can also pour the mixture into a large self-seal/Ziploc bag, smooth it flat and lay it in your freezer, taking it out and squishing it every hour or so until it is ready. If you aren’t eating it immediately you will need to bring it out of the fridge. It will be solid so let it sit out on a tray and squish it gently when it thaws a bit. Or throw hunks into a blender.
3. Another option is to do as for a granita by pouring it into a freezer-proof container and take it out of the freezer and beat it with a spoon (instead of the granita’s fork) as it is freezing. You will need to do this about four times.
4. For any frozen yogurt I’ve found that it is a good idea to press a piece of parchment paper directly onto the surface to help keep the taste and texture at its best. Then wrap tightly or cover with a lid. Always eat within one month as a “best before”.
As for the topping, make more than you need and sprinkle the rest onto roasted or steamed vegetables! How’s that for versatile?
Matcha Green Tea Frozen Yogurt with Sesame Crumble
If you love matcha green tea, and sweet, cold treats, this is the recipe for you. And with way less fat and sugar than ice cream shop froyo, you can eat this every day. xx
Matcha Green Tea Frozen Yogurt
800g (2 & 4/5 cups) 10% Greek yogurt or full-fat plant yogurt OR 650ml full fat yogurt and 150ml double cream (richer taste and no need to add the vodka, below)
1 tbsp + 2 tsp Japanese Culinary Grade Matcha Green Tea Powder (not flavoured or sweetened)
3 tbsp light honey or vegan alternative such as Coconut Blossom Nectar (maple could be used but is a very strong, competing taste) – up to 6 tbsp if not using the vodka (below)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
pure organic stevia powder – about 1/16th tsp or to taste – optional OR 2 tsp of something like Natvia
1 tbsp vodka – optional
4 tbsp white sesame seeds
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Sweet White Miso or 1 tsp soy sauce (miso preferred)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Whisk or mix together the frozen yogurt ingredients, tasting and adjusting the sweetness as needed. Pour it into the pre-frozen bowl of your ice cream maker (see above the recipe for non-machine options) and start it as directed by the manufacturer. Mine was ready for eating in less than 20 minutes.
While the frozen yogurt is freezing, make the sesame crumble. Lightly toast the seeds in a dry pan until a few start to pop and it all smells toasty and gorgeous. Pop the seeds and remaining ingredients into a mortar and grind down with the pestle so that most of the seeds burst but are still nubbly. It should look like coarse sand. You can do this in bursts in the bowl of a small food chopper/processor. I have a Ceramic Suribachi Mortar Pestle Set which I adore, but it’s absolutely not necessary.
Serve the matcha green tea frozen yogurt with sesame crumbles.
Tips: You may add some of the sesame crumble to the frozen yogurt towards the end of the freezing or keep it all to sprinkle over individual servings. The frozen yogurt will keep well in a sealed container for about one month. Take out of the freezer 15-20 minutes before you wish to eat it.
Nutrition Notes: If you want to know more about the health properties of matcha tea, here are some facts from cancer.gov about tea and cancer; and general nutritional aspects in this article, “7 Proven Ways Matcha Improves Health” (Healthline.com).
As with any food or substance with reported health properties, use of it for benefit needs to be seen within the context of a balanced and healthful diet and lifestyle.
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