Have you ever heard of nama chocolate? It’s a decadent, creamy candy known for its thick and velvety texture, made mainly with cream and chocolate. The high moisture content from the abundant cream used sets it apart from regular chocolate, giving it a fresh and silky palate. Nama chocolate originated in Japan, with the well-known brand Royce leading the way. Before, I could only enjoy these unique delicacies when visiting Japan or during layovers. Among the various flavors, matcha (green tea) is my personal favorite.
As a person who doesn’t travel frequently and prefers to stay in the kitchen, I decided to recreate this treat at home to satisfy my cravings. To my surprise, making them turned out to be remarkably easy, and the taste was equally delightful.
In this post, I’d like to share my recipe for Sakura Matcha Nama Chocolate. Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are the essence of Japan’s spring season. My version of nama chocolate closely resembles other recipes available online, but I added a touch of sakura leaf powder because I adore the combination of sakura and matcha. It creates a subtly elegant flavor, evoking the image of a young Japanese lady beneath the beautiful sakura tree—a beautiful experience! While sakura leaf powder might not be readily available outside Japan, it’s an optional ingredient. The matcha powder alone already provides a powerful taste to the nama chocolate.
- A square container or pan measuring 10 x 10 cm
- Alternatively, a rectangular container or pan with similar dimensions
- Parchment paper
16 salted cherry blossom (sakura) flowers (optional) 12 grams matcha powder 1 – 2 grams sakura leaf powder (optional) 70 ml (67 – 68 grams) whipping cream (30 – 40% fat) 20 grams unsalted butter 200 grams white chocolate
For the method, you’ll notice that I’m taking a slightly different approach than other recipes. Many nama chocolate recipes involve heating up the whipping cream and pouring the hot cream onto the chocolate. Instead, I prefer using the double-boil method, allowing the chocolate to slowly melt and blend with the cream. Why? Heating whipping cream can be a delicate process. Overheating it can lead to the crystallization of lipid globules, affecting the cream’s characteristics and taste. Moreover, pouring overly hot cream can cause the chocolate to seize, resulting in a grainy or lumpy mixture. Thus, I opt for the safer method, using gentle steam from simmering water to heat the bowl and melt the chocolate.
For a detailed recipe with specific notes, you can find it on Savoury Days’ YouTube Channel (subscribe to get all the latest recipes) available in both English and Vietnamese (select your preferred language by clicking CC > Setting > Language). You can check it out at this link or watch the video below.
- Begin by soaking the salted sakura petals in water for approximately an hour to remove excess salt. Afterward, gently squeeze the petals to drain any remaining liquid and let them air-dry on a piece of paper until fully dry.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper that adequately covers the bottom and sides of your chosen container or pan. Before placing the parchment paper, lightly brush the inside of the pan with melted butter or apply a thin layer of cooking oil spray. This step ensures the parchment paper stays in place during preparation.
- Mix the matcha powder and sakura leaf powder (if using) together.
- In a clean, dry bowl, add the whipping cream, butter, and small pieces of chocolate. Place a small amount of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Position the bowl on top of the saucepan (ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir continuously. The steam from the simmering water will melt the chocolate, and the constant stirring will blend everything into a smooth, homogeneous mixture. Remove the bowl from heat.
- Sift in half of the matcha powder/sakura leaf powder mixture into the bowl and blend until fully incorporated. Taste the mixture and continue to sift in more matcha powder/sakura leaf powder until the flavor meets your preference. Keep in mind that adding more matcha powder may increase the bitterness. More powder will also be sifted in during the final step.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared container/pan. If you notice many tiny air bubbles on the surface, tap the pan on the table a few times to pop them (this step is not crucial and won’t affect the quality of the chocolate).
Place the pan in the fridge for 4 – 5 hours or longer until the chocolate sets completely.
- Take the nama chocolate out of its container or pan and slice it into bite-sized portions using a sharp knife. For smoother cuts, dip the knife in hot water and dry it before each slice. Remember to clean the knife after each use.
- Sprinkle a light coating of matcha and sakura leaf powder on top of the chocolate. You can put the pieces back in the container before dusting. Keep it in the refrigerator. Before serving, add another layer of powder and decorate with salted sakura petals
Always store the nama chocolate in the fridge and use it as soon as possible while it’s fresh.