Pickles and Tea Adventures in Asian American Cooking

Matcha + Gelato = Matcha-ffogato

Three years ago this August, I gave up caffeinated coffee.

I still drink decaf coffee and I still drink tea, both black and green. However, I feel like a disgrace to my Seattle-bred espresso habit every time I order a decaf, soy milk caffe latte. Yes, I’m lactose-intolerant too.

Then recently, my husband ordered himself an affogato (a scoop of vanilla ice cream drowned in espresso) while we were vacationing in Philadelphia. It seemed the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. The bitterness of the coffee was the perfect foil to the sweet ice cream and the caffeine gave him a much needed jolt after our heavy lunch. I was envious.

green tea and gelato

Nori furikake adds a savory component to the sweet-bitter combination of green tea and gelato. Other suggested toppings: white chocolate shavings or cornflakes.

A few weeks later I discovered an affogato of sorts, but this time made with matcha, that shockingly-green tea powder, the star of Japanese tea ceremonies and assorted wagashi. Thank you Bon Appetit magazine!

I tweaked the recipe a little and sprinkled a little nori furikake (seaweed seasoning) on top. “Huh?” you might wonder. It’s no more unconventional than a shower of Maldon salt over chocolate truffles. And trust me, it’s delightful!


Serves 4
Light on your belly and delectable to eat, the key to this matcha-ffogato is good quality ingredients. If you can find a local tea shop, ask for their recommended matcha powder. If not, Republic of Tea has a nice one. I also prefer gelato to ice cream but feel free to use either/or.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
  1. 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  2. 1 cup unsweetened soy, almond or cow’s milk
  3. 1 pint vanilla gelato (preferably vanilla bean)
  4. Nori furikake for sprinkling
  1. Place the matcha in a medium bowl with a lip. Pour the soy milk into a measuring cup or a mug and microwave on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until hot. (My microwave is 1100 watts). Pour about 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot soy milk over the matcha and whisk, pressing out any lumps, until you have a smooth paste. Pour in the remaining milk and whisk until all the matcha dissolves.
  2. Divide the gelato among 4 small bowls or coffee cups. Pour about ¼ cup matcha milk into each bowl and sprinkle with nori furikake. Serve immediately.
  1. You can buy nori furikake at most Asian stores. If you can't find it, crumble some toasted nori (seaweed) instead.
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Pickles and Tea http://smithsonianapa.org/


  • Debra Samuels

    Furikake and ice cream? OK Pat, I trust you and will make this interesting dessert and report back!! Hope you are having a good summer. Cheers, Deb

    • Pat Tanumihardja

      Try it on some guinea pigs. I’d love to know what they think!

  • Filed Under

    August 16, 2016
    Cooking method    Microwave    
    Course-type    Drinks    Sweets/desserts    
    Culture    Fusion    Japanese    
    • Posted By

      Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Pat Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens. Pat especially enjoys covering topics that converge on food, history and culture and has been published in numerous international, national and regional publications. Her cookbook, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook—Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens is a treasury of family recipes and stories spanning over a dozen Asian cultures.

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