I grew up eating jellies. What about you?
My mom loves making jelly when we were young. That’s why jelly brings back wonderful sweet memories to me. It was one of those cold sweet treats that my sisters and I really enjoyed eating when we were young, especially in hot hot Malaysia.
We would sit on the kitchen bench and just watched mom do wonders with colours and mould. So fascinated by the beautiful shapes when mom unmold the jelly that we thought it was magic!
In fact, the shape that I loved the most comes in a certain koi fish mould that my mom always used. The mould has many complicated layers but it was so colourful and beautiful. So beautiful that it was always made centrepiece when we celebrated special birthdays or Chinese New Year. On other days, mom would treat us with sweet bitesize jellies that comes in various shapes like the star, heart, flower shapes … endless!
The coconut and gula melaka (dark palm sugar) agar agar is a popular Asian dessert. This dessert interestingly, is supposed to set in two different layers due to the natural oil properties in the coconut milk which causes it to rise to the top. But mine didn’t separate and this may be due to the strength of the agar agar that I used which caused the jelly to set too quickly 😦 . Although I didn’t get my two layers, it still tastes good.
So, in the spirit of summer, I’m sure this dessert will surely delight your family and kids. Go ahead, try it! It’s as easy as 1,2,3.
Coconut and Gula Melaka Agar Agar (adapted from Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School)
Makes about 20 pieces
300 ml water + 300 ml coconut water
3 pandan leaves, washed & knotted
150 g gula melaka (dark palm sugar), roughly chopped
50 g caster sugar
3 tsp agar agar powder
400 ml coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
sprinkle of sea salt
1. Mix the water and coconut water well. Then combine with pandan leaves, gula melaka, caster sugar and agar agar powder in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Uncover and continue to simmer for 5 minutes until agar agar has dissolved.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir the coconut milk and 1/4 tsp salt together until no lumps remain. Add the coconut milk mixture into the saucepan. Return to simmer.
3. Remove from the heat and pour into a 20cm x 20cm baking tin lined with plastic wrap. Set aside until the mixture starts to cool down and firms. Then slowly transfer the tin into the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 – 2 hours.
4. To remove the agar agar from tin, just lift the plastic wrap and place onto a flat surface. Cut and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Serve.