Japanese Genmaicha may not be on the top of the list of teas to try for many people. However, Genmaicha can add an interesting and tasty element to your next Japanese culinary experience.
Genmaicha, also sometimes known as 'popcorn tea' or 'rice tea' is essentially Japanese green tea (usually sencha, bancha, or a mixture of both), blended with roasted rice grains, which sometimes pop into little pieces that look like popcorn - hence the name 'popcorn tea'.
In Japan, rice was first added to the tea as a filler for those who couldn't afford the high price of tea. The roasted rice was added to the household tea stash, making the tea ration last longer, and became the 'people's tea'. Genmaicha is still enjoyed by the masses today, for it's fresh yet savoury taste.
The main tasting notes you should expect to find in Genmaicha tea include spinach, fresh grass, nut, popcorn and butter.
So, how can Genmaicha change your next dining experience?
Genmaicha is certainly more than a tea.
Genmaicha can be used as an appetizer-
The thick mouthfeel and savoury flavour of the tea makes it the perfect miso soup replacement to start off a traditional Japanese meal.
It can be used as a soup base -
Try adding fried shiitake mushrooms and fresh sliced ginger to the tea as it is brewing, for a flavoursome, fresh and full bodied soup.
It can be used to coat tofu -
Grind the Genmaicha in a grinder and mix with fine breadcrumbs or polenta. Use this mix to coat your tofu before frying, for a tasty and crispy dish.
It can be an accompaniment -
Simply sip the tea between bites alongside your favourite Japanese cuisine.
If you have not yet tried Genmaicha, we recommend you give it a go! It will change the way you look at Japanese food, and tea!