Don't Sleep On Green Tea For A Super Refreshing Shaved Ice Dessert

With summer's arrival comes the inevitable need for cold desserts, and we're talking about more than just ice cream here. When you're winding down from a hot sunny day, a bowl of shaved ice can be such a refreshing treat. Most often, you'll find it in fruity or chocolatey flavors, melting decadently onto the taste buds with each icy spoonful. Beyond those familiar choices, you may find green tea to be fantastic as well. It's everything you adore in a comfort beverage met with the indulgent touch of a summer dessert. While it's relatively uncommon here, it's a well-known and cool sweet treat in several Asian countries.

When it comes to shaved ice desserts, matcha is the go-to green tea of choice. Its flavor offers a slightly different take on desserts than we're typically used to. Instead of the usual rich, ultra-sweet notes, your palate will be greeted with matcha's one-of-a-kind grassy, nutty taste and pleasantly bitter undertone. It lays a soft, delightful base to highlight a variety of possible toppings, balancing out their sweetness with ease. Light as green-tea shaved ice may be, all it takes is a bit of sweetener to bring out the vibrancy needed for a good dessert. In the aftertaste lingers a delicate, airy aroma that's wonderfully soothing.  Overall this matcha treat offers a refreshing and calming taste combined with the ice's cooling sensation.

Matcha shaved ice is a fun and easy dessert to make

Making matcha shaved ice at home is surprisingly simple. It involves preparing an ice block, letting it thaw slightly, and then shaving it using an ice shaver (or other hands-on ice-shaving methods if you don't have a machine). For the matcha powder, you can whisk it with hot water and let it freeze to use as a flavored block. Alternatively, you can prepare a matcha syrup separately, then simply pour it over ice shavings.

Since the tea is the star, opt for ceremonial grade matcha green tea if possible for a more refined, authentic taste. If not, culinary grade matcha will do. Note that the natural flavors can be quite strong, so you might want to dilute it with condensed milk, sugar, or other sweeteners.

As for the toppings, you can pull inspiration from the many versions of Asian shaved ice desserts. In Japan, where it's known as kakigori, sweet red adzuki beans or bean paste, mochi, dango (Japanese rice dumplings), and a thick, creamy sauce are often used. The Korean rendition, known as bingsoo or bingsu, explores a wide variety of chunky toppings, including fresh fruits, nuts, toasted bread cubes, or even ice cream, though patbingsu is topped with sweet bean paste. Then there's also Taiwanese tshuah-ping — a colorful, condensed milk-drenched sweet treat topped with tapioca balls, grass jelly, and mung beans. That said, almost any dessert topping would work, so don't be afraid to get experimental.