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
Bánh Mì is one of the world’s great sandwiches. They are a riot of colors, textures, and flavors. They are also a wonderful example of the culinary magic that can happen between food cultures. When the French colonized Vietnam in the 17th century, they brought baguettes with them (because of course they did). Vietnamese cooks added their own twist, contrasting soft meats with crunchy veggies and fragrant herbs, and thus the bánh mì sandwich was born.
Today, bánh mì sandwiches can be found everywhere in Vietnam, from street vendors to high end restaurants. There are endless variations on the basic idea of taking great bread and stuffing it with savory, tangy, and fresh fillings. I have seen bánh mì sandwiches run the gamut from seafood to vegetarian. My version is a traditional mix of roast pork, pate, herbs, and pickled veggies, and it’s a family favorite.
Making Bánh Mì
I love this recipe because it can be made in stages. If you make the pickles and marinate the meat the day before, you are rewarded with more flavorful fillings and a quick dinner prep. The pickles are easy to make, and an essential part of a bánh mì sandwich. They add a tangy, crisp bite that contrasts with the rich meat.
To make them, first cut matchstick slices of the carrots and daikon radish. (This is where having a properly sharpened knife comes in handy! Have you subscribed to Funky Asian Kitchen and received my Knife Sharpening Tutorial?) Then salt them. Finally, mix up the pickle brine and pour it all over the veggies.
They will keep in the fridge up to a week. Any leftovers are great as salad toppings, crunchy additions to a grain bowl, or as a refreshing accompaniment to a meal.
Marinate for Extra Flavor
I use pork tenderloin for my bánh mì sandwich. It has a nice soft texture and really soaks up the savory marinade. To make the marinade, I toast both black and white peppercorns until fragrant, which just takes about a minute. Then, I coarsely crush them with the side of a heavy knife. Whisk together a few pantry items like fish sauce and brown sugar, and the marinade is ready. I like to marinate the meat overnight so it absorbs as much flavor as possible.
When I’m ready to make the sandwiches, I take the pork out of the marinade and pat it dry. Then pan sear it before finishing it off in the oven.
While While the pork is cooking, I whip up the delicious sandwich sauce. It’s basically a riff off nuoc cham, which adds bright and lively flavor from the lime juice and fish sauce. (Can’t get enough of this zesty sauce? Try it here, here, and here!)
Often Banh Mis are topped with a bottled sauce called maggi seasoning, which contains hydrolyzed vegetable protein, that gives it an umami burst. If you have it and want to use it instead, go for it, but cut out the step where you make the sandwich sauce.
Now it’s time to put it all together. Start by thinly slicing the pork. Next, prep your garnishes: the herbs, jalapeños, cucumbers, and pâté. The pâté is another bit of that French influence, and its richness adds nice meaty depth. If you’re an absolute hater, you can skip it. Additionally, I’ve noticed during this difficult year, that pate is often a difficult commodity to find. If you find yourself having problems as well, you can substitute it with a number of more common ingredients, such as liverwurst, which is what I did. Any mild, either spreadable or sliceable, liver product will work.
Then, slice your baguettes horizontally, and spread mayonnaise on one half and sprinkle a bit of the sauce on the other. Finally, layer your pork, pâté, pickles and other garnishes. Try and make your sure all sections of your bread are equally covered.
Each baguette should make 6 hearty sandwiches. Slice and arrange them on a platter and enjoy one of the world’s most popular sandwiches!
If you make these bánh mì sandwiches, we want to know! Leave a comment, and tag us in your gorgeous pics @funkyasiankitchen. And if you want to continue exploring the delicious cuisine of Vietnam, try my Beef Pho.
Authentic Vietnamese Bánh Mì sandwiches!
For the Pork:
- 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- ½ cup fish sauce
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 ½ pounds)
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil or oil spray
For the pickles:
- 2 carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks
- ¼ daikon (white) radish, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 2 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 pound fine-textured pork pâté (you can substitute liverwurst or another mild tasting liver product, thinly sliced if not spreadable)
- 6 tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced or jarred pickled jalapenos
- large handful fresh cilantro with stems
- 1 european cucumber
1 long baguette
Make the pickles:
- Peel the carrots and the daikon and then trim the ends. You can use either a knife or a mandoline to julienne the vegetables to create thin matchsticks. If using a knife, cut into julienne by slicing the vegetables thin on the diagonal, then stacking the slices and cutting through them again to create thin strips. Set aside separately in two bowls (keep the veggies separate until you salt and squeeze them to keep the colors from bleeding).
- Salt the carrots and daikon with 1 tablespoon of salt each, mix well with your hands, and let sit in a colander for 10 mins. Then squeeze out the excess liquid (do not rinse with water), and put both vegetables into a container.
- In a separate bowl, stir together rice vinegar, sugar, and water. Pour the vinegar marinade over the vegetables and let them soak for at least 30 mins or overnight. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week. Drain the pickles before using.
Make the sauce:
- In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, neutral oil, sugar and water. Set the sandwich sauce aside until ready to use.
Prepare the pork:
- In a small skillet, toast the white and black peppercorns over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer them to a work surface and using the side of a heavy knife or the back of a heavy pan, coarsely crack the peppercorns; transfer to a bowl or container large enough to hold the marinade and pork.
- Add the fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pork. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Drain the pork and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Rub 2 teaspoons of oil all over the pork (you can also use an oil spray and spritz the roast). Heat a skillet over medium high heat and then sear the pork for 1-2 mins on all sides.
- Transfer to a baking sheet with a rack and roast in the oven for about 15-20 mins until the pork is done and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing thinly.
- Cut the cucumber into a julienne by slicing the vegetables thin on the diagonal, then stacking the slices and cutting through them again to create thin strips.
- Cut the baguette in half horizontally until almost cut through and then spread it open like a book. (I also cut the bread into two shorter pieces because it was easier to handle and take photos.) Sprinkle a little of the sandwich sauce onto one half of the bread. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise onto the other half.
- Place the sliced pork and the pate onto the bottom half of the bread. Top with slices of jalapeño, the drained carrot and radish pickles, sliced cucumber, and cilantro. Put the top half of the bread on the sandwich. Cut the baguette into 6 sandwiches and serve.
If you have extra pickled veggies leftover, you can use them up by putting them in salads, on top of noodle or grain bowls, or as a refreshing condiment at meals.
Keywords: bahn mi, vietnamese, sandwich, nouc cham