Pho is a labor of love. It can take hours, sometimes even a couple of days to create the famously flavorful broth. But this Chicken Pho can be on the table in under 2 hours! I have a couple tricks to coax maximum flavor with read more
I love gelatin desserts. Not the ubiquitous neon hued jello that played heavily at school cafeterias, but all of the the amazing desserts that rely on humble gelatin: from the silky creaminess of panna cottas to the sinful richness of a bittersweet chocolate mousse and especially the simple delight of Coffee Jelly. This Coffee Jelly is perfect for people who don’t like overly sweet desserts. Or for people who just really love coffee. It’s also a wonderful dessert for people who aren’t naturally blessed with baking genes. You are rewarded with a quick and sophisticated dessert without even turning on your oven.
Coffee Jelly is a nostalgic and common dessert in Japan and Vietnam loves their drip coffee sweetened with condensed milk. My Coffee Jelly is a bit of a mashup of the two. It’s completely make ahead and you can do all the prep in less time than it will take you to remember what comes after, “watch it wiggle, see it jiggle”; so let’s get into it.
Making Coffee Jelly
In Japan, coffee jelly is so ubiquitous you’ll find it in every grocery and convenience store, packaged like ready to eat Jello. It’s not very sweet, as Japanese people generally don’t favor super sweet foods. Vietnam, on the other hand, has a prolific pastry and dessert culture. Their coffee jelly is usually a somewhat more complicated affair, stacking layers of sweetened cream with layers of coffee jelly. I keep the simplicity of the Japanese version but use a robust Vietnamese coffee, serving it with dreamy, sweetened condensed milk-it’s the best of both worlds!
Once the gelatin is mixed, it’s time to make the coffee. I like to use the famed chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. The chicory gives it a very robust, earthy flavor that is similar to Vietnamese coffee. If you would like it less intense, feel free to use whichever ground coffee you prefer.
Once it’s chilled and set, it’s ready to enjoy. I serve it with condensed milk on the side. That way people with a big sweet tooth can add it to their heart’s content. The contrast of the sweet, creamy milk with the rich coffee jelly is like the most heavenly latte you’ve ever had.
Word of caution-this is a caffeinated dessert. So if you are really sensitive to caffeine you might want to enjoy this a little earlier in the day. Hey, there’s no law saying this can’t be breakfast… Whip up this easy, elegant Coffee Jelly and let me know what you think. Rate and comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you!
- 8 grams gelatin powder (1 packet Knox gelatin)
- 3 tablespoons vietnamese coffee and 2 cups boiling water (I use Cafe Du Monde chicory and coffee in the yellow can)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 can condensed milk
- Put the gelatin powder in a bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Set aside.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot and turn off the heat. Add the coffee to the pot and steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a coffee/tea filter.
- Rinse the pot, pour the coffee back in, and put it back on the stove. Add the sugar and bring the coffee to a simmer over high heat. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn off the heat and add the gelatin.
- Mix the gelatin into the coffee with a whisk or spoon for a couple minutes until the gelatin has fully dissolved.
- Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into 4 small cups, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or until the jelly has set.
- Serve coffee jelly with the condensed milk on the side.
Keywords: coffee, desserts, japanese, vietnamese, coffee jelly, sweets, make ahead
Do you have a go to item that works for any occasion? My Noodle Salad is that kind of dish. Potluck night with friends? Check. Sunday Bbq? Check. Light Luncheon? Yup. A last minute side dish for dinner? Gotcha again. I’ve got nothing in the fridge and I need to eat something now?! We’ve got you covered.
This Noodle Salad is incredibly versatile, goes well with almost anything else you might be serving, but can be served by itself in a pinch, can be made ahead of time, can sit out at room temperature, makes great leftovers, and it’s lightning fast to make. Plus the only cooking required is to boil some water, it can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand, it’s vegetarian, and also gluten free. If that doesn’t tick most of your boxes, you need new boxes. So what are you waiting for?
Noodle Salad Dressing
Cold noodle salads are very popular in Vietnam. They can include all kinds of grilled meats, seafood, veggies or tofu, and feature addictively tangy dressings. This salad is more pan asian, combining several different influences. The origins of the salad may be Vietnamese but the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in the dressing are definitely more East Asian. It’s a delicious mishmash I think you’ll enjoy. The dressing comes together in minutes, and you can make it ahead of time and keep in the fridge.
Noodle Salad Veggies
With the dressing done, it’s time to prep the veggies. Meal preppers-you can chop everything before hand and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. I picked these vegetables because they are the ones I usually have on hand. You can feel free to substitute the veggies for whatever you like. Sturdy vegetables such as edamame, snow peas, baby kale, cucumber, or radishes would all work well in this salad.
Once the veggies are cut, it’s time to make the noodles. I use rice vermicelli noodles. They cook really quickly and they are a delicious gluten free noodle. To cook them, just drop them in a pot of boiling water, turn off the heat, and let them sit for 2-3 minutes. It’s a good idea to check the suggested cooking time on the package, since there are tons of different brands available.
Rinse the noodles under water to cool them down and remove some of the exterior starch. Let them thoroughly drain. I like to chop them so they are more manageable and you can have noodles and veggies in every bite. I know… it’s sacrilege to cut noodles in Asia but practically speaking, Italians have a million different pasta shapes to choose from and we’re mostly stuck with long strands in Asia. What’s a girl to do? Cut, cut, cut!
Then I add the veggies and noodles to a bowl and mix it all up.
Finally, I dress the noodle salad, garnish with the fried shallots, and dig in! Don’t leave out the shallots, they add welcomed crunch and flavor.
Noodle Salad is a bright and vibrant meal, or a quick side, and leftovers make an excellent lunch. Give it a try and let me know what you think; leave a comment and rate the recipe, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons grated onion
For the Salad:
- 4 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
- ¼ green cabbage (if you can find taiwanese cabbage use it) shredded, about 2 cups
- 1 medium carrot julienned
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 scallions finely sliced
- ½ cup cilantro leaves roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons fried shallots
Make the dressing:
- In a jar or small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, neutral oil, sesame oil, minced garlic, and grated onion.
- Set aside until ready to use.
Make the Salad:
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop the noodles in and stir.
- Turn off the heat and let the noodles sit 2-3 mins.
- Drain under cool running water.
- Set aside in a colander to drain off all water. You can also lay the noodles on a paper towel or spin it in a salad spinner to remove the water.
- In a large bowl, combine the noodles, the cabbage, carrots, spinach, scallions, cilantro, and the dressing.
- Toss to incorporate all of the ingredients.
- Top with the shallots and serve.
Keywords: noodles, gluten free, vegan, vietnamese