So, St. Patrick’s Day! Last year I celebrated by making comically green pancakes dyed with matcha green tea and garnished with green kiwi. If you know anything about me, you know matcha is perhaps my all-time favorite ingredient and I’ll use it anytime I get the opportunity. So why not continue the green tea theme and make this matcha…uh, flan?
Here at One Ingredient Chef, we’re well-versed in turning cuisine inside out by making ordinary dishes out of bizarre ingredients that come together for amazing flavors; a la cauliflower rice or chickpea ricotta. But taking a Mexican dessert, infusing it with Japanese green tea, and serving it for an Irish holiday? Maybe we’re taking this too far.
Cultural technicalities aside, this incredibly simple recipe is just coconut milk solidified with agar and infused with just a little matcha and maple syrup. 4 ingredients. Simple.
Now, I am well aware that this dessert looks totally silly, but don’t even mess with it. The flavors are too serious. A creamy coconut base with slightly bitter matcha and sweet notes of maple syrup all solidified into a custard-like dessert? Oh yes. If you can procure some matcha and agar (they’re easy to find and last forever in your pantry), give this one a shot. It takes just 10 minutes and you won’t regret it.
Makes 2 servings
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons agar flakes
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ground sesame seeds for garnish
- Dark chocolate for garnish
Add the coconut milk to a saucepan with the maple syrup and agar flakes and warm over medium heat. Agar flakes are very similar to gelatin (except made from sea vegetables instead of horse’s feet…) and provide an incredible amount of thickening power. These clear flakes can typically be found near the asian ingredients in most grocers. They do, however, need to be activated by heat, so allow this mixture to simmer just below a boil for about 3-4 minutes while stirring regularly.
The agar flakes should technically dissolve in heat but this has never been the case for me, which is why step 2 is necessary: transfer this coconut agar mixture to a blender and add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of matcha and blend for several minutes on your highest setting to fully dissolve the agar and blend in the matcha powder.
Choose the type of dish you’d like to use. I have small Japanese teacups that work well to create a rounded “dome” as pictured, or you can use ramekins and just fill them half way to create a disc (see below). Before pouring, use a paper towel to smear a little vegetable oil inside to make for easier removal. Then, pour the liquid into the dishes and tap against the counter several times to remove bubbles.
Allow to refrigerate for at least 3 hours to fully harden and set. When ready to serve, you can either serve inside the dishes (easier) or be brave and use a knife to slowly scrape around the edges of your dish to hopefully pop them out in one piece. Either way, garnish with ground sesame seeds and/or chocolate shavings.
Happy Mexican/Japanese St. Patrick’s Day!