Don’t know why but there are such moments, smell, or taste that remind me the old time, those happiest days when there hadn’t been any serious responsibility on me. I hadn’t had agar-agar jelly for like 20 years till one day, I was buying eggs at a small grocery store in my local farmer’s market and the shop owner told me he had a dream of having scrambled egg agar-agar jelly the night before. When I was little, parents would make me agar-agar jellies, in those days when there were not many choices of snacks and sweets in the market. Agar-agar jelly was a small joy of a kid after finishing a long day in school.
Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin made from red algae, a seaweed, suitable for vegetarian. Cantonese, or some of the other Asians believe it can eliminate the ‘heat’ in the body so it’s good to have agar dessert in summertime. It’s usually in white and translucent stripes and usually sold in a package. Its usage is similar to gelatin. Here are 2 tips in making jelly with it.
1. The proportion is 1g agar-agar with 100ml liquid;
2. If there are solid ingredients, such as fruit chunks, or beans, they would sink at the bottom when the liquid is hot. Cool it down for a while and the liquid would turn thicker and half-set, stir so that the solid ingredients can separate evenly.
The following two recipes are the very old-fashioned jellies I had as a kid. One is with scrambled egg, for a more textured taste, I add a little ginger. Another one is with canned pineapple, also, a tiny bit of sweetened osmanthus for better decoration. There are many other options such as coconut milk, green beans, red beans, fruits, or coffee.