Kakigori is Japanese shaved ice topped with sweet syrups, very similar to the Western snow cone. Kakigori carts are always present at summertime festivals and on every street corner during the sweltering months. In the past, hand cranked machines turned a large block of ice around a heavy metal blade to scrape off ice crystals but today, electric machines make the work faster and easier.
For home use, you can purchase small plastic machines the come with round ice tubs so you can freeze water into thick discs. Some newer models use regular home freezer ice cubes. To me, the best machines shave the ice into a fine fluffy powder rather than grittier granules that comprise the typical American snow cone. The texture of kakigori is in between the fine powdery ice and gritty granules.
You can purchase many fruit syrups just for kakigori or snow cones at your local supermarket during the summer season. But here is one that, although popular, isnít often found outside of Japan.
Green Tea Kakigori
1 cup water
ĺ cup sugar
2 tsp. green tea matcha powder*
In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar into water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat. Cool for ten minutes, whisk in green tea matcha powder. Refrigerate until chilled before using.
Pack in a generous amount of shaved ice into a small bowl. Remember that the liquid will shrink the ice considerably upon contact so pack in the ice densely. Pour on desired amount of green tea syrup and enjoy.
*Alternatively, you can seep two green tea bags in the hot but not boiling water for five minute, remove the bags and continue with the recipe by dissolving the sugar into the water.