My friend Luciana who lived in Japan for many years recently invited me over to serve a very special Japanese tea she received as a gift from her husband. I was very excited to try this tea, but little did I know I would also be introduced to a new recipe when she served us Nama Chocolate. As with anything Japanese, these little bites of chocolate were beautifully presented. They were delicate pieces of chocolate and I could have easily devoured the entire little box but restrained myself since I was her guest after all. She wanted me to try them so I could also learn to make them and gave me a few recipes. I couldn’t wait and looked over a few recipes she sent me and the next day I eagerly made them. I love how easy they are to make and will replace my traditional chocolate truffle recipe for these since there’s no rolling chocolate and washing hands in between every few truffles.
“Nama” means fresh or raw in Japanese and nama chocolate is named for its use of fresh cream. There are only two main ingredients: chocolate and fresh cream (and in some recipes, also butter). You can also add a little bit of liquor or Champagne to the chocolate. They are dusted with cocoa powder to finish. There’s also matcha nama chocolate that is made with white chocolate and matcha (powdered green tea). I decided to try the dark chocolate recipe with cocoa and saved some to try with matcha on top. The recipe I tried (as with many others I compared) has a ratio of 2:1 chocolate to cream, and uses no butter. Simple and easy to remember.
Homemade Nama Chocolate
Recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 4-5 hours
- 400g (14oz) good quality chocolate (I used dark chocolate with 70% cacao, you can also use semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer)
- 250ml (8.5oz) heavy cream (I used organic “heavy whipping cream”). Click here to see Types of Cream (Note: recipe updated to add more cream)
- 1-2 Tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder (you can also use matcha)
- For flavored Nama Chocolate: add any spice, vanilla, or orange peel to the cream.
- Cut the chocolate into small pieces using a sharp knife (the smaller the better, it will melt faster). You can also use a food processor and pulse a few times to cut the chocolate into small pieces. Put chopped chocolate into a heat-resistant bowl and set it aside.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts forming small bubbles around the pan but do not boil the cream – if the cream is too hot it can burn the chocolate. Add flavorings, if using any.
- Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. You can also put the chocolate into the saucepan of cream, but I prefer to remove the cream from the pan in case the cream was overheated. After a few minutes, use a whisk to stir the chocolate until creamy and smooth.
- Line an 8”x8” (20cm x 20cm) dish with parchment or wax paper. Pour the chocolate and smooth the top with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours. Tip: If you wait longer than 5 hours, the chocolate may need to stay at room temperature for a little while before cutting. I refrigerated mine overnight and cut it straight out of the fridge and it broke when I cut it. Not as pretty presentation as the true Japanese nama chocolate, but I called it an artistic version to save my nama chocolate.
- Recipe update: I added more cream to the recipe so the chocolate is not as hard even when refrigerated, and thus more similar to the traditional Nama Chocolate.
- Remove the parchment/wax paper from the chocolate and cut into small pieces using a warm knife (run knife under hot water and dry it before using). You may need to clean the knife blade between each cut.
- Sift cocoa powder (or matcha) over the chocolate, and roll the chocolate pieces so all sides get covered in cocoa.
- Serve immediately or chilled. I prefer to serve at room temperature, but they are good even out of the fridge. The chocolate should be stored in the refrigerator and best consumed within a few days.
I hope you enjoy this easy and decadent chocolate treat!