My cookbook, KANSHA: Celebrating Japan's Vegan & Vegetarian Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2010) provides a solid foundation to the principles and practice of kansha in the kitchen and at table. This workshop page enables me to guide you further.  ENJOY! 


Cooking with Green Tea

Green tea is most often enjoyed as a beverage, but it can also be used to make both sweet and savory dishes.

Green Tea (Ryoku Cha & Matcha)

緑茶 & 抹茶

The Camellia sinensis plant is the source of all true teas. Depending upon how the leaves are cultivated and processed, the character of the tea changes. Green tea is green because enzymes responsible for oxidization have been prevented from doing their work. The Japanese accomplish this by steaming the freshly picked leaves, while the Chinese typically pan-fire or roast tea leaves to achieve similar results. The steaming process tends to accentuate the vegetable, marine, and herbaceous tones in tea -- qualities that are prized by the Japanese.

Traditionally, matcha has been whisked to a frothy consistency to make a jade-colored, bitter beverage served at the tea ceremony. Modern culinary applications for matcha include green tea ices and a wide range of confectionery, balancing the bitterness of the pulverized tea with sweet flavors such as sugar and barley malt. 

In addition to the culinary pleasure of green tea, health-providing benefits traditionally associated with the consumption of green tea include the reduction of blood cholesterol levels and incidents of hypertension. Further, green tea leaves have anti-oxidants (thought to slow the aging process) and anti-bacterial properties (spent leaves are used “clean” cutting boards, rice tubs, even wooden floors). Many studies indicate that green tea discourages the development of, and inhibits the growth of, carcinogens.

Camellia sinensis plant, the source of all true teas

SAVORY TEA COOKERY... ocha-zuké, rice with tea broth. Toasted puffed rice, sour plum, nori and trefoil toppings provide textural and flavor variety.

To try your hand at making   ocha-zuké, click here to download the RECIPE

SWEET TEA COOKERY...  matcha cakes, cookies and iced almonds. Unlike classic royal icing that uses raw egg whites, this VEGAN mixture combines soymilk and powdered sugar with matcha to make a vividly verdant icing – one that can be piped or poured onto cookies, or used to dip-and-coat roasted nuts.

Click here to download the RECIPE.



Nothing Goes to Waste in the Kansha Kitchen

KANSHA means appreciation, and one way of demonstrating kansha in the kitchen and at table is to avoid waste. Using food fully means re-thinking your kitchen habits, focusing special attention on what could -- and should -- be used... And, considering what might be saved, rather than discarded. After drinking green tea, SAVE THE SPENT TEA LEAVES. They can be re-purposed to make chappa tsukudani, a sweet-soy stewed condiment for rice.

RECIPE: Place the leaves in a small saucepan, add several tablespoons of cold water and an equal amount of saké, mirin and light-colored soy sauce. Place over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until there is little or no liquid (it will turn slightly syrupy). Be careful not to let it scorch. Let cool in the pan. Toss with about a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds. Use immediately, or transfer to a glass jar. Refrigerate for up to several months.

Spent tea leaves made into chappa tsukudani can garnish a bowl of rice or stuff rice balls (onigiri or omusubi)

I welcome your feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your kitchen sessions when you try making the recipes above. Those interested in offering feedback, please download a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further teaching goals, I may post some of the feedback to this site, adding my commentary.