Last week I posted matcha cookies, today is a rice cake. Matcha is a very fine green tea powder that is used for Japanese tea ceremony. With a very distinctive fresh clean taste, today matcha is enjoyed in ice-cream, desserts, chocolate, lattes and many other delicacies. My favorite is the matcha ice cream.
The other day, my girlfriend, Fumiko, invited Mari and me for lunch and a fun afternoon of cooking with matcha. This recipe is for Matcha Rice Cake with Azuki Beans. Azuki is a small red bean that is cooked with sugar and often used in traditional Japanese sweets. If you see red bean paste used for a Japanese sweet, it’s usually made from the azuki bean. For this cake, we didn’t make the sweet azuki, instead used the ready made.
Unlike traditional cakes that use wheat flour, this recipe calls for mochiko, sweet rice flour. It’s gluten free, so if you’re gluten intolerant, please give it a try! Unlike wheat flour that creates a fluffy texture, as you bite into the thin crisp exterior layer, the center is soft, a little dense, and chewy. It’s really a wonderful contrast of textures.
The original recipe called for blending the bean paste with the matcha batter, but we decided not to follow this. We were afraid that blending the two could make the bright green colored matcha batter turn a little muddy. Instead, we spread the azuki beans so it sat on top of the cake, similar to a pineapple upside down cake. As you can see, the cake is a lovely green with a complimenting reddish brown azuki bean topping. Visually beautiful with lots of contrast and so appetizing, I believe our method was a success!
Because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, the cake without the azuki was plenty satisfying for me. So, if you don’t have the azuki bean paste, go ahead and try just the cake. It’s lovely!