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Five years ago, I conceived the idea of Rasa Malaysia, and the blog was officially born on July 4, 2006. For this year’s July 4th weekend, I wanted to share with you a new blog, a site that I love so much I can’t wait to unveil to you all—please meet Season with Spice (yes, click the link!), a website championed by my good friends Reese and Mark, which is about reconnecting the ancient Spice Route by featuring people from all over the world, who introduce their culture; their home; through their kitchen, by sharing colorful recipes…with spice. Please welcome Season with Spice, with their Coffee Ice Cream recipe, and read on for the wonderful post about their mission. And remember to click on this link to visit Season with Spice and its wonderful recipes. Don’t forget to leave a comment to show your support. Have a great 4th!

For many of you, Rasa Malaysia is a place to find the Laksa or Curry Mee or Loh Bak that you miss.  For others, it is a place to discover dishes you’ve never tasted.   But for all visitors to Rasa Malaysia, it is a place to feel a connection to Asia; to Malaysia; and above all, to Penang.

On Rasa Malaysia, Bee welcomes all of you into her kitchen, and shares not only her recipes, but also stories of her family, her favorite hawker stalls, a dash here and there of Hokkien and Malay words, festivals and events she remembers as a child, and adventures she has on her “balik kampung” trips.  Through her kitchen, she shares her stories of home.

That is why Bee represents Penang on the New Spice Route

Launched in April 2011, Season with Spice is reconnecting the Spice Route through a Culinary & Cultural journey, by featuring people from all over the world, who introduce their culture; their home; through their kitchen, by sharing colorful recipes…with spice.

Because what spices we use, and how we cook with them, represent where we come from. Whether it is in the traditional foods we grew up with and carry on cooking, or in the new dishes we create with all the amazing flavors and ideas we receive from the melting pot around us.

Where would cooking be without spices?

Not in our kitchen.  We are passionate about the colors, the aromas, and the flavors.  And not on Season with Spice, where you will find recipes shared by the international community, proving how wonderfully dynamic spices can be by their varied uses in cooking from one culture to the next, and at other times, through reinvention with a bit of determination and creativity in the kitchen.

Where would your cooking be without spices?

On Season with Spice, we won’t let that happen.  Like the ancient Spice Route where spices themselves were the ingredients of discovery, on the New Spice Route, recipes with spice are your doors to kitchens around the world.  Into kitchens where you will find the flavors your food has been missing.

But Season with Spice is more than spices.  It’s about connections.  A convergence of cultures.  A place to explore; a place to interact and learn from people who are linking the Spice Route through the stories they share, and the dishes they cook.

A place to discover the meaning to Season with Spice.

These connections are a part of everyday life in Penang – a diverse island that was originally developed along the Spice Route.

A few weeks ago, Reese & I were enjoying masala tea at a restaurant in Penang’s Little India.  The warm aroma of green cardamom, and other spices, biting and tickling our taste buds with each sip.  It was quiet, so we chatted with the waiter – a guy about our age, originally from Tamil Nadu – about his home and family, about the Tamil language as we struggled to pronounce a few words.  And we asked him about the spices in the tea, and about the Indian dishes we had ordered.

And that simple experience carried to the following day, when I had masala tea swirling around in my mind.  With that thought – mixed with my craving for ice cream that never goes away, and watching Reese add sugar to her coffee – I had my new recipe.

It’s now Summer Season with Spice, so it’s time to enjoy a scoop of Masala Coffee Ice Cream!

Mark (and Reese too)

The best type of coffee ice cream to make is the one with the coffee you are familiar with and enjoy drinking. Therefore, this recipe will be in three parts: espresso, instant coffee, and coffee beans. The first part here on Rasa Malaysia, and the second and third on Season with Spice over the next two weeks.  Each recipe will also feature a different spice blend.


Masala Coffee (Espresso) Ice Cream Recipe

Makes about a liter of ice cream


1 3/4 cups of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of espresso (cooled)
1 (or 2) black cardamom
3 green cardamoms
Pieces of Ceylon cinnamon bark (equal to 1 tsp of powder after grounding)
6 black peppercorns
2 clove
Dash of nutmeg
2 tsp of espresso grounds
1/2 cup of raw sugar (white or brown work fine too)
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon of gelatin powder (or equivalent)


1. With a mortar and pestle, grind the pieces of Ceylon cinnamon bark until you have about a teaspoon of fine powder.

2. Crack open the black and green cardamoms and put the seeds into the mortar with the cinnamon, and set the shells to the side.  Add into the mortar – black peppercorns, clove, nutmeg, and espresso grounds – and grind up everything into a fine powder.

3. In a small pot, add the spice blend you just created, with the cream, cardamom shells and espresso (make sure the espresso has cooled to room temperature).  Using a heat resistant plastic spatula, stir frequently over medium-low heat until small bubbles appear along the edges (but don’t let it boil). Should be about 10 minutes. Then turn heat off, cover, and let sit while you complete the next step.

4. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and gelatin. Add a quarter of the mixture from the pot into the bowl, while constantly whisking (to prevent the eggs from cooking). Then repeat with another quarter of the mix. Finally, pour everything in the bowl back into the pot, while stirring with the plastic spatula.

5. Return the pot to the stove and heat on medium-low, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Without allowing it to boil, heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (or if you have a cooking thermometer – when it reaches 180F to pasteurize the eggs). Should take about 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

6. Layer the bottom of a large bowl with ice cubes, and set a small metal bowl inside. Pour mixture through a strainer into the small, metal bowl.

7. Stir mixture occasionally to help cool faster. Once cool (should take about 15 minutes), transfer mixture into a plastic airtight container and place in refrigerator overnight.

8. On the following day, pour mixture into ice cream machine and churn.

9. Transfer the ice cream into a plastic container, lay plastic wrap directly on top of ice cream and press down gently (to prevent ice crystals from forming on top of the ice cream), and seal with airtight cover. Set freezer temperature to the coldest setting, so the ice cream freezes faster.

Cook’s Notes:

1. The key to this spice blend is black cardamom, which is generally an ingredient in savory dishes.  However, the rich, smoky aroma of this spice adds a new dimension to coffee ice cream.

2. You can substitute cassia (‘ground cinnamon’ from the grocery store) for Ceylon cinnamon, but best to cut it down to 1/2 teaspoon since cassia has a much more pungent flavor.

3. You can use your normal drip coffee, but make it extra strong.

4. If you’re new to making ice cream, please see my “Tips on Making Ice Cream at Home” on Season with Spice.

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