Matcha and Coconut Cream with Agar


I am thrilled whenever I discover a simple recipe which is versatile enough to be modified eternally. Savoury recipes are of course much easier to fiddle with, but sometimes I find real versatile gems among the sweet ones too and the Coconut Cream I first prepared with Canned Peaches slowly proves to be one of them. Some of you might remember it was my first successful dessert prepared with agar (also called agar-agar or kanten), a gelling agent made with seaweed. The satisfying result encouraged me to carry on with agar experiments, but I must admit I didn’t suspect that the coconut cream would be versatile. Luckily I was wrong and the Light Chocolate and Coconut Cream, based on the same recipe, turned out a pure delight. Ping’s (Ping’s Pickings) gorgeous Mango Coconut Cream is another wonderful twist on this basic combination and even though I haven’t tasted it, I can well imagine how fabulous are the flavours.

The matcha version you see above has been on my mind for many weeks, but I hesitated. Matcha (抹茶), the Japanese powdered green tea, is one of the most fascinating products, but apart from successful outcomes (see below), I have experienced at least the same number of total failures, realising this is a particularly unpredictable ingredient. I haven’t made any web research about coconut and matcha pairing, so I had no idea if my experiment was risky or not, but I gave it a go and, as you have probably guessed, it was a big success.

First of all this cream is perfect for hot summer days. It is light and extremely cooling, thanks to the matcha’s subtle bitterness. Even though matcha’s flavours dominated, coconut cream was still discernible and I found the combination harmonious. Just like the above creams, the texture of this one was closer to a thick yogurt rather than a thick jelly and the preparation was quite easy (although this time, due to matcha’s dissolving issue, the cream had to be passed through a sieve). I highly recommend this dessert, but only to the fans of matcha’s unique, slightly bitter, “grassy” flavour or of course to those who are willing to discover it.

In case you are interested in matcha experiments, here are some other matcha desserts I have posted and enjoyed:

Matcha Crème Brûlée

Light Matcha Cream

Matcha and White Chocolate Truffles

Matcha, White Chocolate and Oat Truffles

TIPS: Look closely at your agar package instructions. On mine 1/2 teaspoon is said to set 500 ml/2 cups liquid to a jelly. I use only 1/3 teaspoon and obtain a wobbly, “falling off the spoon” consistency. If you prefer a well-set jelly, use the amount advised on the package.

Do not wait until the cream becomes cold before pouring it into individual serving dishes because agar sets at room temperature and once disturbed, it will not reset properly!

Preparation: 15 minutes + 2-3 hours in the fridge

Ingredients (serves 4 – 5):

250 ml/about 1 cup coconut milk

250 ml/about 1 cup cow milk 

4 flat tablespoons sugar (as a fan of moderately sweet desserts I used two flat tablespoons)

1/3 flat teaspoon agar agar in powder

2 tablespoons matcha (heaped, if you are addicted to its grassy, bitter flavour)

(more matcha or dessicated coconut for decoration)

Mix the coconut milk, the cow milk and the matcha in a food processor.

Dissolve the sugar and agar-agar in the above mixture. Bring to boil on low heat and, constantly stirring, let it simmer for about a minute.

If matcha isn’t completely dissolved, pass it through a fine sieve and then bring back to boil. Boil for another minute.

Put aside.

Prepare four individual bowls or low glasses.

Pour the hot mixture into the individual bowls (agar sets at room temperature, so the cream’s temperature should be higher before it is poured; make sure it is not too hot and doesn’t break the bowls or glasses though). Let it cool down to room temperature and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Serve very cold sprinkled with coconut or more matcha.

52 Replies to “Matcha and Coconut Cream with Agar”

  1. As a matcha lover how could I resist a dessert like this! Such a wonderful light dessert that I’d enjoy…and by the way your strawberry mousse was fabulous. I’m going to comment on that post instead of here… 😉 Have a wonderful weekend, Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Nami and thanks once more for the strawberry mousse feedback! I’m thrilled to learn you have enjoyed it! Have a lovely weekend too.

  2. Another variation, great (: I just made the coconut cream again yesterday, with chocolate. From FRESH coconut because I couldn’t find the brand I use and very stubbornly wanted my coconut milk for a curry. Took me forever, ah the silly things I do.

    1. Thank you, Shuhan. Fresh coconut? I’m impressed! Personally I loved the chocolate coconut version (aka “bounty in a glass”).

  3. Beautiful!!
    YOu know I need to ask you is there any particular brand of Matcha u use… I love it but somehow feel alla brands taste quite different.. Am I right?
    This looks gorgeous!!
    B/W I am now heading to search ur salad… 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Reem. I will have to check the brand, but the only thing I can say is that the cheapest brands are always the worst. The one I recently buy is 50% more expensive than the cheapest one, but the taste and the colour are 100x better.

  4. Yum! Another super creation! Hey, thanks for the link.
    I can’t wait to try this out … I love matcha. I’ve been using your basic recipe and trying out with different fruit purees and flavors. It’s just super versatile and I can’t stop using it 🙂 Thanks so much Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Ping. Your mango version is still on my mind. It’s just that I profit so much from the Summer fruits (strawberries, raspberries…) and mangoes are available most of the year. I’m really happy you find this cream versatile and hope you have fun playing with different flavours.

  5. Hi Sissi! I admire your adventurous spirit! This recipe seems real unique and I would have never come up with mixing the 2 flavors. Though I’ve read enough about matcha to really want to invest in some. I do enjoy drinking matcha tea at Japanese restaurants, and the ice cream taste good, though the pricing has me taken aback a bit. Is it expensive to purchase at your area?

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno. I don’t know what pushed me towards this combination… Here matcha is quite expensive too, but since I don’t use it often and not in huge amounts, it’s worth it.

  6. I remember the matcha white chocolate and oats truffles very well. It was the first time I’d heard of matcha. Don’t you love it when you have a flavour breakthrough like that? I guess it is what keeps us going — that high from trying a new flavour or ingredient combination and discovering that it works really well. Nice work Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. You have an excellent memory! I love playing with flavours and discovering they work together (but sadly it doesn’t happen all the time… last week I threw out two experiments; they were inedible).

  7. Sissi, I love the simple…yet, most refreshing matcha and coconut cream. The agar is a perfect way to thicken the cream. I had just recently discovered, that using pectin is a way to replace gelatin which is non-vegetarian, and pectin is, and its not just used for jams and jellies, but as a natural thickening agent, just like agar powder. We can’t get agar here, locally, but pectin, yes!

    Sissi, I’m so sorry that I haven’t been able to get to the post office as of yet, to mail out your giveaway gift. I will for sure get it out by next Monday. Have been awkward notable to use my hand fully, and driving the car is even clumsier! It’s my left wrist, at least I can do more things with my right hand, since I’m right handed!

    1. Thank you so much, Elisabeth. I have never tried replacing gelatin with pectin. Here vegetarians replace gelatin with agar or this is what I have heard (it’s available in all the organic shops and in regular ones now too). I know that both agar and pectin are used are thickeners in industrial products.
      Please, do not be sorry! I’m not in a hurry! Take your time. I’m so sorry for your hand, but as you say luckily it’s the left hand. I’m grateful that you keep on visiting our blogs in spite of this injury. Again, take your time and don’t even think about it!

  8. This dessert looks wonderful and delicious and you know one of my weaknesses is I would easily surrender to any dish with coconut milk. Anything with coconut milk whether it’s savory or sweet. . . I will give up everything except my pride and honor. Well, for this treat . . . maybe the pride and honor will go too! Haha!

    Have a great weekend to you, Sissi! 

    ~ ray ~

    1. Thank you, Ray, for the compliments. Yes, I remember you are a neverending source of coconut recipes both savoury and sweet. I also love coconut milk. Have a lovely weekend too!

  9. I have never tried it, and suspect I wouldn’t love it, but our tastes seem to be so similar that now I’m thinking I have to try it and I may indeed like it, or perhaps even love it.

    1. Hi Eva, if you like coconut and matcha, I’m sure you would love it, but if you are not a fan of the matcha bitterness in desserts, this one would taste awful for you (I know a bi coconut fan who hated this matcha versions but liked the previous ones with peaches and chocolate).

  10. So interesting this combination…matcha nd coconut…love the texture of this dessert…creamy!
    Nice picture Sissi…and have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  11. Wow, how come I`ve never thought of this pair despite of their co-existence in my kitchen! When there`s something green paired with coconut in Indonesia, usually it`s pandan leaves or the extract.
    Thank you for sharing this, Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Arudhi. I have seen a lot of pandan cake recipes and am planning to buy pandan extract and make it. I’m very curious how it tastes…

  12. I’ve been just skimming over the dessert/sweet posts on various blogs I subscribe to as I’ve already got a huge backlog of tantalizing recipes to try and the likelihood of adding any new ones is scarce.

    Th other flavours you made were intriguing but I have reservations about the matcha as the last matcha dessert I attempted was very disappointing … the green tea and white chocolate cookies Nami posted some time back. Basically a shortbread, the grassy note provided by the matcha added nothing pleasant to the flavour palate. 🙁

    1. Many people dislike matcha. The grassy note you found unpleasant is what we, matcha fans, go crazy about.

      1. I find that it’s tasty (for my palate) in some dishes ie truffles, madeleines, panna cotta and crepes and not so much in others like these shortbreads where the matcha flavour was overwhelming.

        The madeleines were my hands down favourite with the subtle taste of honey.

        1. Unfortunately I’m one of those who always add more matcha than the recipe calls for and in general could eat it almost alone (have you seen how much matcha I have sprinkled on the top?) and I love it in everything I have tasted (unless it’s too sweet; I hate very sweet desserts).

  13. Oh I have a can of Matcha in the panty just waiting for a purpose like this! What a lovely dessert and I’m sure absolutely delicious!

  14. I LOVE matcha. I discovered this when I was working in a bubble tea place (my first job ever, good times…) and have been hooked ever since. This looks great, I love the combination of ingredients!

  15. I’m loving all of your agar experiments Sissi – to me they look gorgeous! And you know we share a mutual love of matcha so this one is speaking to me loud and clear :). Plus, coconut is not only delicious but so soothing this time of year I find… refreshing and cooling. A perfect choice. Lovely dessert Sissi.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Frankly I find coconut good for every season for different reasons each time, but a coconut cream is particularly refreshing. I agree.

  16. This sounds wonderful, and the best thing is i have all the ingredients. It is a must try on my list right at the top…and mush less fat than my matcha shoertbread cookies. 🙂

  17. I’m late to the matcha party, and still haven’t jumped on the train alas… no idea what the stuff is like. Is it literally just powdered green tea, or is it treated in some way or a specific variety which has a special flavour? It’s wonderful to see all the many different uses for it which people post and this is another one which looks really delightful. I think you really must be the “queen of creams” – If I ever find myself serving you food, please remind me not to serve you a mousse or cream of any kind… I’d be so scared of being judged harshly because you have so much experience making them! 😀

    1. Thank you, Charles, for so many compliments. You are joking with the “queen of creams” and the being scared bit I hope 😉

      1. Well, maybe partly – but you can be sure I’ll never be making my poor excuse for a mousse for you… not until I’ve had a great deal more practice at least 🙂

        1. Now I’m really anxious because when I invite you and serve you some kind of cream and if it’s a partial failure… I would really be ashamed.

          1. Dear Sissi,

            I love the gentle flavours of matcha and if it’s not “queen of creams”, I think you deserve the title of “queen of matcha desserts”.

            Whenever I drink green tea at home or in a Japanese restaurant, I like to also think the antioxidants are doing a whole lot of good too 🙂

            1. Thank you so much for the compliments. I haven’t prepared a lot of matcha desserts though… I still have some experiment plans for the future.

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