Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vegan Matcha Fresh Chocolate. (Nama Chocolate)

 It seems like Matcha, green tea powder became very popular these days. Last year, I went to Uji, Japan. Uji is known as a tea village in Japan. I normally prefer loose leaf teas. I always like Matcha, but it wasn't as appealing as loose lead teas to me. However, this trip totally change my thought about Matcha. The good Matcha has highly saturated green, but not artificial, and has unique rich green taste and lingering sweetness. Everything I ate in Uji was mix with Matcha. Since they were so tasty and light, one was never enough. 
Other than, its taste, there are many health benefits which will make you want to try them now. 

1. High in Antioxidants
Matcha green tea possesses antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60.5 times that of spinach.

2. Cancer Preventer
Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha Green Tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties.

3. Enhances Calm
Matcha Green Tea has been used by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks as a means to relax and meditate while remaining alert. Matcha green tea contains up to 5 times more L-theanine than conventional green tea. L-theanine is an amino acid with psychoactive properties, capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain which induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers.”

4. Boosts Memory and Concentration
Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration.

5. Increases Energy Levels and Endurance
While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, the energy boost received from Matcha is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. The increased endurance from a bowl of Matcha Green Tea can last up to 6 hours and because of the effects of L-Theanine, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side-effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension.

6. Burns Calories
Drinking Matcha Green Tea has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average.

7. Detoxifies the Body
Matcha is grown in the shade, which is why it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas. Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for giving leaves their green color. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll in Matcha Green Tea not only give this tea its beautiful vibrant green color. Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

8. Fortifies the Immune System
The catechins in Matcha Green Tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties which promote overall health. Additionally, just one bowl of Matcha Green Tea provides substantial quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A & C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium. Further studies have even suggested that the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.

9. Improves Cholesterol
A 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that administration of green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered serum total cholesterol and LDL(bad) cholesterol.

So with this amazing Matcha, I made fresh chocolate, which is also called Nama chocolate. Fresh chocolate is normally made with chocolate and fresh cream,  but this is vegan recipe which tastes as good as regular fresh chocolate recipe.

- 400 gram (14 oz) vegan dark chocolate(70% cacao)
    Most organic food stores, or even some regular food store sells vegan chocolate.
    Here is vegan chocolate list.
- 200 ml coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- Liqueur of your choice
    This is optional.
- Matcha powder to cover the chocolate
  1. Chop the chocolate into smaller pieces using a knife so that they will melt faster and more evenly. (If you can find good quality chocolate chips, you don't need to chop them.)
  2. Wrap an square baking dish. (Backing dish can be around 6"X11", 8"X11", or something similar)
  3. Add the coconut cream into a small saucepan and heat until you see few bubbles around the saucepan. Do not over boil it. 
  4. Add the chocolate and stir the chocolate and cream. Add liqueur of your choice (optional) and coconut oil.
  5. Mix the chocolate and cream with food processor. This is an additional step, but it totally changes the texture. This step makes the chocolate slightly elastic like caramel.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover the surface smoothly with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2-4 hours.
  7. Remove the chocolate from the baking dish and sprinkle Matcha powder before cut it.            (A clean warm knife helps cut the chocolate nice and clean.)
  8. Cover the chocolate with Matcha

You can use semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate. If you want white chocolate, the ratio of white chocolate and cream should be 3:1, instead of 2:1.

I have more Matcha recipes in previous post.

Matcha Yang-gaeng(Yōkan)

Matcha Latte

Matcha White Chocolate Panna cotta

Monday, February 2, 2015

Korean Children's books for Kids and Adults. - 2 - Waiting for Mama

The second book that I am going to introduce today, is one of my favorite children's books, "Waiting for Mama". Even though, this book is a children's book, I would also recommend it to adults as well. 

This story takes place in the early 1900′s in Korea when the country was under Japanese occupation. The focus on a young child waiting for his mother at a public transportation stop may not be familiar to children who come from cultures in which parents or babysitters always accompany them in public. The story does not have a complex plot.

The young boy goes to the platform of a streetcar station and waits for his mother to arrive. Every time a streetcar arrives, the boy asks the driver if his mother has come until one of the drivers tells him to remain in the safe area of the station. The boy stands still and waits, no longer asking the next drivers if his mother has come. Time passes and it gets darker and colder. The boy’s nose grows redder. Suddenly, snow comes down and the story ends with the scene of a town in which the roofs of the houses are covered with snow. The ending does not seem to have the closure typically expected in picture books. It is not a happy or sad ending, but rather an ambiguous one. A book ending with a young child waiting for his parent in the evening without the promise of the parent’s appearance seems unacceptable for an audience of young children. If you look closely the last page, however, things are not as they first appear. The small figures of the mother and child can be seen walking through the snow-covered scene.

Originally written in Korea, Waiting for Mama, 엄마 마중 [Umma Mah Joong], was published as a short story without illustrations in 1938. The illustrator of this picture book, Dong-Sung Kim, added his interpretation and details from his imagination. For instance, the young protagonist’s gender was not clear in the original text, nor was the illustrator’s subtle interpretation that the mother arrives and walks home with the boy. Kwon (2003) says, “Readers don’t know anything about the young boy, but make the presupposition that this is the boy’s first experience waiting for his mom at the station based on his naïve question to the driver. The story can be hopeful or desperate depending on the reader’s interpretation of the boy’s situation”.
The story may be more powerful because the author does not describe what the boy is thinking or feeling when he keeps repeating the question, “Is my mom coming?”. The author of the original short story, Tae-Joon Lee, wrote many orphan stories. Kwon (2003) says that the not-yet-arrived mom is a metaphor of the sovereignty of Korea and the waiting child is a metaphorical expression of Korea longing for independence from Japan. The illustrator, Dong-Sung Kim, is a well known artist who pursues the uniqueness of Korean illustration style in his works. Because of the simplicity of the story, Dong-Sung Kim’s imagination plays significant roles for readers.

The English translations of Waiting for Mama and Waiting for Mummy find ways to highlight that the mother does come in the ending in order to make the translation more culturally acceptable to readers in Australia and the United States. U.S. version clearly states on the book jacket that the mother arrives and walks home with the boy. The Australian and American versions have distinctively different narratives of translation, yet similar considerations for an audience who is not familiar with this type of ambiguous story ending. The idea of leaving a young child alone without a guardian creates a tension for readers from these cultures. The two English translations reflect the strategies of publishers who negotiate between an audience’s cultural resistance and the pleasure of reading an international children’s book. Each finds a way to provide a textual indication to point readers to the internally embedded visual image of the young boy walking home with his mom.

Kwon, H. S. (2003). The relationship of mother and child in Tae-Jun Lee’s children’s books. Changbi Review of Children’s Literature,21.175-192.
This review by Yoo Kyung Sung, University of Arizona, was edited by Handol Tearoom.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Korean Children's books for Kids and Adults. - 1 - New Clothes for New Year's Day

 I always wanted to introduce some children's books that show Korean culture at Handol Tearoom. Unfortunately, some of Korea related children's books are badly translated, or written by some Koreans who've been living outside of Korea for most of their life and don't really know about Korean culture.

So here are four children's books that I think the contents are educational, accurate, and sweet.

"New Clothes for New Year's Day"
"Waiting for Mama"
"My First Book of Korean Words"
"Korean Children's Favorite Stories"

The first book that I want to introduce is "New Clothes for New Year's Day"(Written and illustrated by Hyun-Joo Bae)

New Clothes for New Year's Day is a picture book cherishing traditional Korean culture. Told through the eyes of a young Korean girl who looks forward to her wearing her special New Year's Day clothes, New Clothes for New Year's Day follows her as she puts on the colorful articles to give luck and celebrate the coming of the new year. A lovely and enjoyable picture book, and also useful for demonstrating to a child how to put on a Korean-style New Year's Day outfit.

"A New Year, a new day, a new morning. / New clothes. / We start the year with new things. / New things, for the year-older me. // Time to go... oh! // New snow for New Year's Day!"

"This stunningly illustrated picture book is a joy to read and to look at." --- Through the Looking Glass

"...glorious picture book...exquisite illustrations...a wonderful book for any girl and her mother." --YA Books Central

"While the reverence with which the girl greets the holiday is specifically Korean, her gladness and anticipation -- and Bae's skillful rendering -- are sure to have universal appeal." --- The Washington Post

Or stop by Handol Tearoom, and feel free to read them with your kids.