Friday, March 30, 2012

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food # 41 Elizabeth Andoh…Matcha Muffins

Yummy Matcha Muffins

She was described by NPR’s food blog “The Salt,” as the Julia Child of Japanese cooking. She is Elizabeth Andoh  #41 on Gourmets list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food.  Elizabeth was studying anthropology at the University of Michigan; when she was asked by her adviser to take a postgraduate fellowship in Japan. So, in 1967 she found herself on the island of Shikoku, where she began her studies of Japanese language. Elizabeth also met and fell in love with a local businessman, who she later married. She started to discover Japan through its food, and began formal training at the Yanahihara Kinsaryu School of Classical Japanese Cuisine in Tokyo. 
Elizabeth focused on the finer points of Japanese cuisine, and shared her knowledge with the rest of the world as Gourmet Magazine’s Japan correspondent for more than 30 years. She is a cookbook author and teacher at “A Taste of Culture” her culinary school in Tokyo. She also writes from her home in Tokyo, where she resides with her husband. Her book “Washoku" won the 2006 IACP Jane Grigson award for, distinguished scholarship in food writing, and was nominated for a James Beard Award.

Elizabeth is yet another lady on Gourmets list that I had never heard of. However, learning of her and her accomplishments have been quite interesting and enjoyable.  
There’s something about the flavor of matcha that I truly enjoy. I never visit Starbucks without ordering my grande Green Tea Latte.  Therefore, when I saw Elizabeth’s recipe for Matcha Muffins I had to give them a try. As I often do…I did not read the recipe all the way through. It seemed simple,  I had all the ingredients so I plunged ahead, mixing up the batter. I was ready to pop them into the oven when I realized they were supposed to be steamed. This is why you should always read through a recipe!! I don’t own a steamer, so I decided to bake them. I set the oven at 375〫and baked them for 15 minutes. They came out moist and were very tasty.  I enjoyed these, but found the matcha taste to be a bit  strong. If I make them again I will cut the amount of matcha. 

Batter poured into the muffin cups

Moist and delicious

Matcha Muffins Epicurious | November 2011
by Elizabeth Andoh
Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions

As with many Japanese confections that were adapted from European cuisines, the traditional recipe calls for eggs and cow's milk. I offer a vegan version using soy milk. The richer the soy milk is (higher percentage of soy solids), the better the texture will be.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 muffins

3/4 cup cake flour, about 4 ounces
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup soy milk, freshly extracted or purchased
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Drop of soy sauce, preferably light-colored soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)
2 tablespoons drained Sweet Black Beans (optional)

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, matcha, and powdered sugar into a bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the soy milk until foamy. Add the maple syrup and soy sauce and continue to whisk and incorporate air. Add the vegetable oil if your soy milk is not especially "rich."
Resift the flour mixture. Fold it into the soy milk mixture in two or three batches, stirring gently after each addition to combine. The resulting batter should be smooth, thick, and slightly foamy. Line individual freestanding cupcake forms, or a 6-muffin tin (if it will fit in your steamer), with paper or foil liners and pour in a scant 1/4 cup of the batter. Tap down to level the batter. If you are using the black beans, place 6 or 7 beans on top of the batter in each cup (the weight of the beans will cause them to sink).
Place the filled cups in a flat-bottomed, lidded steamer fitted with a cloth-protected lid. Set the steamer over high heat. Once you hear the water boiling, adjust the heat to maintain a steady flow of steam. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins crack and split and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Always remove the lid carefully to avoid the steam burning your hand.
Transfer the muffins to a rack to cool. Keep the paper or foil liners in place until ready to eat. The muffins will keep at room temperature for up to 6 hours; to keep them soft and moist, place them in a closed container or slip them into a resealable bag. To store longer, refrigerate for up to 2 days. To rewarm before serving, place the muffins in a microwave (remove foil liners first) and zap on high for 10 seconds.

These are the very talented bloggers who are on the quest to blog through Gourmet’s list of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food…Make sure you stop by and check them out!
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed 
Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef 
Nancy - Picadillo
Jill - Saucy Cooks


  1. Your muffins look so pretty and springy. I love the muffin cups:) Matcha is one of my favorite green teas. I must try these muffins:) I will remember your advice on reducing the amount of matcha used. Thanks for a terrific post:) Have a great weekend!

  2. Believe it or not...for the longest time until about last year, I did not even know what MATCHA was. I have never seen Matcha tea in our supermarkets. Even now you could only find it in the Asian markets.
    Love your pretty Matcha muffins, and the fancy and festive cup cake holders really accents it even more!
    Great post, Kathy...I always love to read about these influential women.
    Have a wonderful weekend:DDD

    p.s. I noticed that you did crop off on the previous photo the person's bottom half, and focused on that gorgeous pasta! (hope I didn't offend you)

    1. Elizabeth, You could never offend me…I appreciate the comments!

  3. They look gorgeous Kathy and you can add me as well to the list of not knowing this lady! It was very good that you wrote her story, so I could read about her! Have a great weekend!

  4. I had never heard of Elizabeth until recently when I read about her new book, Kibo, on a blog. I downloaded her book to my iPad and it is so beautiful and the recipes look wonderful. I can't wait to try them. I have some matcha and have seen recipes used with it, but only have made tea with it. I think this recipe would be a good start, but I will remember to cut down on the amount of matcha because it is rather strong. Your muffins look so good and would be a perfect start to the day.

  5. I love your muffin cups as well:D Such an excellent writeup about Elizabeth.

  6. Now this is a recipe I simply have to try. I also love the information you put together for your readers. Thanks for joining in with us. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  7. Kathy these muffins sound delicious and your muffin cups add such an element of Springtime to them. Just perfect to celebrate the sunny weather. I do have one question, however, did you use the black beans? I was suprised to see that they are added whole, not mashed and am curious as to whether you think they are better with or without?

    1. Jill, I didn’t add the black beans…wasn’t sure if I would like them in a muffin.

  8. Hi Kathy,

    I really enjoyed reading your post and learning more about Elizabeth Andoh, since I too had never heard of her before this undertaking. The culinary world is so vast and interesting, isn't it? What a perfect recipe for a Matcha lover to choose. The muffins look lovely in the tulip muffin cups.

  9. Thanks for such a wonderful oriental muffin recipe - they look awesome :D
    And I would just like to add that your quote is one if the best I have ever seen ;)

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Bleeding Jam Marbled Mudcake

  10. This is an interesting recipe you've picked, Kathy. Love your little introduction to Elizabeth! I didn't realize she had such fusion recipes as well. I've eaten similar cakes during my stay in Singapore. I'm sure these taste wonderful!