The Zen Kitchen by Adam Liaw is published by Hachette Australia, $49.99
KANTEN IS MORE POPULARLY KNOWN OUTSIDE JAPAN AS AGAR AGAR. IT’S A SEAWEED
BASED GELLING AGENT BUT ITS PROPERTIES ARE VERY DIFFERENT TO GELATINE. THE JELLIES
IT PRODUCES ARE FIRMER AND CRUNCHIER. KANTEN HAS BEEN USED FOR MAKING JAPANESE
SWEETS FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS. HERE, A LIGHTLY SWEETENED WATER JELLY ENCASES
DELICIOUS COLOURFUL FRUITS. OUR KIDS LOVE THESE.
MAKES ABOUT 16 JELLIES PREPARATION TIME 30 MINS COOKING TIME 10 MINS, PLUS 4 HOURS CHILLING TIME
Various fruits, such as
lychees (tinned is fine), mandarin, kiwifruit, rockmelon
1 litre water
120g caster sugar
8g kanten (agar agar) powder
(or according to packet directions)
1 Prepare the fruit by cutting into bite-sized pieces, large chunks, decorative cuts or shapes. A variety of shapes, colours and sizes is good.
2 Combine the water, sugar and kanten in a medium saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the kanten and sugar are dissolved. Allow to cool until just warm to the touch but not set. You don’t want to cook the fruit.
3 Pour into a 1.5 litre capacity mould (e.g. a 20cm square cake tin) and press the fruits into the liquid. Allow to cool until set, then refrigerate until chilled. You may find it easier to line the mould but if you do, line it with baking paper, as plastic wrap may leave shapes in the base of the jellies. Carefully turn out the jellies and cut into individual cubes. Alternatively, set the jellies in individual moulds. Individual moulds will make it easier to keep the fruits separated.
You need to follow the directions on the packet of the kanten if there are any. Brands may differ in their setting strength.