I have a confession to make. I love jello, though I never eat it because I am health conscious and there are way too many unidentified chemicals in a package. And when I found out that jello’s gelling agent was made from pig skin and/ or cattle bones, well, that was it.
When we were in Japan, I discovered kohi-jelly or coffee jello and it was “jello-ized” using agar agar, a kind of seaweed, organic even, straight from the ocean. It was awesomely delicious and I started nearly every day with a kohi-jelly hit. The dessert is actually quite popular in Japan, especially in the summer, so it was easy to find in restaurants and convenience stores.
Yesterday at work (our last day!) our department had a pancake breakfast. One of my colleagues brought two huge containers of dunkin’ donuts coffee. We all did a pretty good job finishing one, but there was one nearly full container left over. This was my opportunity. I took the coffee home and mixed about a cup of espresso in with the coffee (to enhance the flavor) and, using agar agar, voila! —–kohi-jelly.
It’s incredibly refreshing, especially because it is not too sweet and very cold. Now my mind is churning to see what other juices and flavors with which I might experiment.
3 cups strong coffee
1 cup espresso (optional but deepens the flavor)
sugar to taste (You don’t need much, especially if you drizzle with condensed milk when xxxxxyou serve it.)
4 tablespoons agar agar (I used flakes but it comes as a powder too.)
Combine ingredients and put on stove. Bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until agar agar is completely dissolved. Stir continually so the agar agar does not sink and stick to bottom of pan.
Cool to room temperature. Put in refrigerator to chill. It can be served with some sweetened condensed milk poured on top (see photo above), a dollop of whipped cream, or even a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. (I cut the kohi-jelly with a serrated knife, hence the serrations on the cubes. I’ll remember to use a smooth blade next time.)
(There is still some coffee left so I am going to make some coffee sorbet. Waste not want not.)