My friend came to visit last month. We had an amazing time traveling around Okinawa, Osaka and Kyoto. That probably goes without saying though. We found ourselves on an ice cream kick in Okinawa, before heading to Osaka and Kyoto. It all started with ube ice cream then we moved on to green tea ice cream. There was some Okinawan sugar cookie, pistachio, vanilla and beni imo ice cream mixed in there as well. I’m addicted to the ube ice cream which is a type of purple potato. It tastes like carnivals and magic. I know you want some now, but it’s not what this post is about! Gomennasai. Seriously, we probably ate 14 ice cream scoops each in the 2 weeks she was here. We may, or may not have had double ice cream on some days. What can I say? It was really hot!!
Once we got to Kyoto, we discovered their delicious green tea ice cream. When I say delicious, what I really mean is SUGOI TOTEMO OISHII!!! I don’t know how they do it, but it’s just better there. I never even liked green tea ice cream until I came to Japan! We went to the holy grail of green tea ice cream shops, located in the Gion area of Kyoto. If you’re ever nearby, check out Tsuriji Honten. Heck, just plan your trip around it! Totally worth it!
After all the eating of ice cream, I found myself wondering about how I could make green tea ice cream a tad healthier. I normally don’t eat much dairy since it’s a bit aggravating for my constitution. My favorite non-dairy milk is coconut milk, so naturally I was drawn to that. I also thought it would be nice to lighten the heaviness of the coconut with some almond milk. Of course, white sugar was a no-go. I tried once with dates and once with maple syrup and decided that I liked the maple syrup better. A splash of homemade vanilla extract was necessary to balance it all out. Get the freshest matcha tea you can get for a more vibrant color. My first batch was with the end of a tin and had a dull green color, but the second batch was bright and happy.
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup almond milk (I used homemade almond milk without sweeteners)
1 ½ tsp matcha powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp maple syrup (or more if you like a sweeter matcha ice cream)
Combine ingredients in a blender, making sure there are no lumps of matcha powder. Pour into an ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Mine froze fairly solid straight from the machine.
I topped it with flaked coconut, which turned out to be a swell idea. I might even just mix flaked coconut into the ice cream next time. It had a pleasant soft crunch from the coconut oils being frozen. Make sure you let the ice cream melt in your mouth for better digestion.
While caffeine isn’t encouraged in ayurveda, specifically for vata types, I do think it’s a better choice than coffee. Green tea is ok for kapha types; it helps with cholesterol, metabolism and digestion. Green tea is bitter, astringent, light and dry.
Vata- swap the coconut and almond milk ratios and top with some nuts
Kapha- swap the maple syrup for honey and add more matcha if you’d like