This is a very common combination in East Asian drinks. Matcha (a pounded green tea powder originating from Japan) and black sesame, a favourite flavour for many sweet dishes. Matcha powder, like other green teas, is high in anti-oxidants. The anti-oxidant levels higher than those of spinach or blueberries. Matcha, is an intense, bitter green tea, and drinking one cup is equivalent to drinking several cups of other more common green teas, like Long Jing tea (龙井茶, more commonly known as Dragon Well tea). Anti-oxidants help protect cells against free radicals that can destroy cells and tissues and help strengthen the immune system, the types of anti-oxidant catechins, are only present in green teas. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), is a catechin known for its strong cancer-fighting properties and makes up approximately 60% of the catechins found in matcha. Matcha is an excellent substitute for coffee, it gives you a buzz but less intense than that of a morning coffee because it contains a compound called i-theanine which induces relaxation.
Black sesame seeds (or white for that matter), if raw, contains extremely high levels of calcium. Actually, for the average adult, just a few tablespoons is equivalent to more than a third of a recommended daily dose. It’s actually higher than a cup of milk, as long as the seeds are raw and not hulled (most of calcium is located in the hull).
These tiny seeds are also an excellent source of many minerals, mostly vitamin B1 (also known as thiamin) and magnesium too. These nutrients support cardiovascular health, respiratory health and also protect against osteoporosis. Both magnesium and calcium are important essential minerals that help regulate blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of developing tension headaches (these are usually offset by blood vessel spasms) and even reduce the occurrence of airway spasms in asthmatics.
So this recipe is bursting with goodness, as long as the key ingredients are raw and natural. Serves 1, pay your respects to these health-giving ingredients and enjoy for breakfast.
Black sesame seeds, finely ground, 4 tbsp
Medjool dates, 4
Matcha green tea powder, 1 tsp
Oat milk, 200ml
Ice-cubes, a handful
1. Blend the Medjool dates and the sesame seeds into a paste (you can use this very paste as the protein and sweetener base of many smoothies if you set some aside in the refrigerator).
2. Add all other ingredients and blend together until smooth (you can gradually and continuously add more oat milk for a thinner texture if you prefer).
It’s important to buy a good quality Japanese matcha powder, to get the best out of it. It should be bitter and has a very green smooth texture. It is expensive, but as it’s so bitter, only one tsp is needed to add flavour. I personally like the brand Vitalife best, and so recommend that to everyone who asks me!
If you can’t find Medjool dates, you can use dried figs or raisins instead, they’re soft enough to liquify in a blender, and sweet enough to remove the bitterness of the matcha and black sesame seeds. If you must, add a drop of raw local honey too. With matcha powder, you could also make a matcha latte as a coffee substitute and sweeten it with the dates.