I wasn’t sure what to call what I made. It’s not gelatin, and “jelly” brings up a mental image of grape toast spread. Anyone have an idea?
I also will be calling it the Japanese name “Kanten” for the remainder of this post. I’m a Biology major so the word Agar reminds me of petri dishes. (*>_< )
Kanten is great stuff. It’s made from seaweed, so it’s vegetarian. It’s easy to digest and technically has no sugar except for what is added. While a carbohydrate, apparently the agarose isn’t easily digestible. It melts at a high temperature, making it great for molding and it’s stable at room temperature. Think about that when you’re pondering a dessert for your lunch box! Considering it it also very filling, it can be used as a diet food.
Our House Guest has not yet acclimated to our climate and hasn’t been feeling well. A request for ginger tea and refusal to eat anything solid made me think of how Jell-O can be good for sick people. Also, ginger is great for queasiness. Not having any gelatin, I remembered buying a box of presweetened kanten that I had intended to play with. I take my opportunities where I find them. I had not remembered that this box required 6 cups of water. That’s a LOT of dessert!
After preparing the contents as per the instructions, I had several small bowls lined with canned mandarin slices. After filling those, the rest, about 3.5 cups, went in a large, square tupperware dish. To this I added about a third of a teaspoon of grated ginger and a squirt of store-brand Mango Mandarin “water enhancer” (Think MiO). After an overnight stint in the fridge, our guest tasted the ginger kanten and was able to eat a small bowlful. I had a bowl of the mandarin slice variety. The ginger helped our guest’s stomach settle quite a bit.
Overall, the flavor was very mild. Balancing the flavor of the ginger was tricky as I didn’t want it to be overpowering. The makers of Golden Coins must expect people to use sweetened flavors, hence the light sweetness. Normally I use the plain varieties of kanten (like Telephone brand) and sweeten to taste. One of these days I’ll need to play with the large bars/chunks, they’re supposed to provide a clearer product. My experiment was a success and we’ve all had several bowlfuls. I love serving it sliced into little squares, the apparently traditional way of serving kanten, unless you’re making awesomely cute desserts like this!
Oh, the “orange” in my picture? that was a gift from the family I stayed with during my visit to Japan a few years ago. I figured it was perfect for mandarin slices in kanten! Something similar was originally served in it, but it had pieces of fresh orange.
A previous experiment with kanten involved coffee and matcha. That was also very delicious, especially mixed together.
I think the next time cold/flu season rolls around, I’ll keep a container of ginger gel on hand!