Curious about Sencha? Guest blogger Ellen Spencer discusses the history and health benefits of Sencha. What do you think? Do you drink Sencha?
Think of Japan and you cannot miss out Sencha, a drink which makes the place even more special. This green tea is one of the most popular drinks of the country and is regarded significant for treating various ailments. Whether you have it hot in winters or sip it as ice-tea in summers, the taste of this tea is amazingly refreshing. Read on to know about some more interesting facts about Sencha, the specialty of Japan.
The processing of Sencha tea
Sencha tea is grown in complete sunlight and involves an elaborate procedure. It is produced by using an old method of picking up the youngest tea leaves, steaming them immediately and crumpling them when dried. The immediate steaming is done to prevent oxidation. Once steamed, the tea leaves are rolled into cylinders to dry. Premium quality Sencha tea leaves possess a shape similar to straight, thin needles with a pure green color. The top portions of the buds and tea leaves are processed to make this green tea.
Sencha- the bitter and sweet drink
Sencha, when brewed, has a vibrant yellow color and a light aroma with a perfect blend of bitter and sweet taste. The fragrance and unique taste of this green tea makes it a hot favorite for people in Japan. Tetsubin or the cast iron tea pots have been extremely popular for brewing this tea. The Japanese brew Sencha tea with care, in small tea pots and relish the taste of this drink throughout the day.
The myriad health benefits of Sencha
Sencha tea possesses a high content of antioxidants and polyphenols. These two components aid in neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals, responsible for many dreadful diseases. The antioxidants in Sencha tea help to prevent coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. The polyphenols act as a barrier in absorbing cholesterol in the body and help to eliminate the extra cholesterol from the body. Research has proved that this tea works effectively in controlling the blood sugar levels and also helps to prevent cancer. The consumption of Sencha tea is also beneficial to build up the immune system and works wonders in osteoporosis.
Drinking Sencha tea is known to help burn the calories and suits best in a weight-loss diet. The antioxidant properties in this drink also help in retaining a youthful skin and reduce the wrinkles by hydrating the skin. It also helps in repairing inflamed and damaged skin. In fact, a cup of Sencha tea after every meal prevents germs to attack the teeth and also helps to keep bad breath away. Gargling with it acts as a great relief in sore throat or cough. Sencha tea is replete with Vitamin C which makes it a healthy option always.
In modern times, Sencha tea extract is also used in aromatherapy and to prepare products such as incenses, soaps and lotions to name a few. It can also be used to prepare delicious treats such as ice-creams, smoothies and salads. Sencha tea scores high because of its medicinal properties, taste, flavor and most importantly because it symbolizes the culture of Japan. It is truly more than just a drink.
About the author: Ellen is a health blogger and teacher at play school. These days she is busy working on a project involving short prom dresses for her school kids. When not working, she prefers to study/execute strategies that can help people dealing with stress relief.
This recipe came about as a happy accident. I had leftover quinoa and chipotle peppers from the week’s previous dinners and wanted to create something without having to head to the store again.
Well, needless to say these peppers were such a hit I made them again for my family and then used the leftover fillings in quesadillas for lunch. When I made them for my family, I used couscous instead of quinoa but I think I prefer the quinoa better. It stands out more from the smoky, chipotle sauce.
4 bell peppers
2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach, cut into bite sized pieces
Chipotle Cashew Sauce:
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1/2 cashews, soaked in 1 cup water for at least 1 hour
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Place all the ingredients for the cashew sauce in a blender. Puree for 3-5 minutes until no graininess remains. Reserve for later.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then place quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. Remove pepper tops, stems, and seeds. If they don’t stand up on their own, slice a tiny bit of the bottom off taking care not to create a hole in the bottom. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add peppers, boil for 3 minutes and drain. Place peppers in a baking dish.
In a large saute pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil and add the minced onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes until translucent.
Add shredded carrots, black beans, and chopped spinach to the quinoa. Add the onion mixture and the cashew cream sauce. Stir to combine, add the cilantro and season with salt/pepper if needed.
Fill the peppers with the quinoa mixture. Add enough water to the baking dish to create a thin layer. This helps the peppers stay moist and steam.
Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.
If you want extra saucy goodness, reserve a few tablespoons of the cashew cream sauce to drizzle over the peppers the last few minutes of baking.
Per serving (1 pepper): 432 calories, 11g fat, 65g CHO, 15g fiber, 21g protein
Have leftover filling? Good! Try it stuffed into a quesadilla. Seriously good!
Yes, another soup. And why not? Satisfying, low-calorie and perfect for cold days or when you need a little comfort pick-me-up.
I was recently nursing a stuffy cold and was craving both noodle and miso soup. My indecisiveness won and I created this soup, a blend of the two. Needless to say, I’ve made it a few times over the past week; I love the blend of ginger, miso, and ramen noodles.
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup white miso
3/4 cup shredded carrot
2 cups baby spinach
2 packets ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packet- you don’t need it)
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
6 cups vegetable broth (I prefer low-sodium brands, especially with the miso)
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
In a soup pan, heat the toasted sesame oil over medium heat. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes taking care not to brown the garlic.
Add the broth, bring to a low simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes to flavor the broth even more.
Remove 1 cup of broth and place into a separate bowl.
Add the carrots, noodles, and spinach. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the noodles are done. While that is cooking, add the miso to the reserved 1 cup of broth and stir until completely dissolved.
Reduce soup to medium-low and add the miso back to the soup. Stir to mix and serve.
Per serving (4): 270 calories, 10g fat, 23g CHO, 3g fiber, 13g protein