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Popcorn made with rice

I thought recognizing the whole month of January as Hot Tea Month was a great idea by whomever decides such things. But to read in Margaret Prouse's food article in the daily Guardian that Monday the 19th is National Popcorn Day, was indeed a thought that brought a smile! So today I want to introduce you to Genmaicha, aka Popcorn Tea!

[caption id="attachment_1924" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Popcorn Tea Smile Popcorn Tea Smile[/caption]

I have been drinking green tea every day since I vowed to make a habit of it. Jen and I have continued the journey each afternoon. So far we have sipped the Sencha Cherry, Gunpowder (which I nicknamed Green Explosion), Genmaicha and Jasmine Pearl. I have loved each, but found in particular that the Genmaicha called for a second and third cup! It was a light golden colour with a unique toasty rice flavour. Jen and I both nodded with approval as we sat sipping over our to-do list as we were getting ready for the Buyers Market this weekend. I had forgotten how soothing this tea was. Mixed in with the green tea are roasted and popped rice kernels which look just like popcorn.

[caption id="attachment_1922" align="aligncenter" width="250"]Pretty Genmaicha Pretty Genmaicha[/caption]

Interestingly, there is a rather gruesome legend associated with this tea and how it got its name: A young servant named Genamai was pouring tea for a samurai warlord and his men in Japan in the 1400s. Genamai had some rice kernels tucked into his pocket as a morning snack. As he bent over to pour the tea, some rice kernels fell out into the cup. The minute the kernels touches the hot water, they popped! The warlord was enraged, and cut off Genamai's head. He then went on with his meeting, and drank the tea in spite of the popcorn in the cup and found that the tea actually tasted delicious! He felt terrible, and wished that he could tell Genamai, so in honour of his trusted servant he decided to serve the tea each morning, and called it Genmaicha (cha being the Japanese name for tea). A happy ending to an otherwise gruesome tale. Happy Hot Tea Month and Popcorn Day everyone!

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