Here is a fun little find from my latest Asian grocery store adventure. We actually visited 2 in a short period of time so I cannot remember which one but there are 2 huge Asian grocery stores in surrounding Montreal: Hawaii in Ville Saint-Laurent and Kim Phat in Brossard.
This little Nutrijell envelope seemed to promise a lovely stiff lychee flavored jelly like dessert, one of 7 available flavors. It reminded me of the jelly versions of mooncakes I saw during the Chinese Autumn Festival. And this would be a great opportunity to break out my mooncake mold!
It is made by an Indonesian based company. The unusual ingredients are Carrageenan, a gelling agent made from red seaweeds, and Konjac powder, a yam like vegetable….both used as vegan substitutes for gelatin. Looking down the remaining list of recognizable ingredients this makes it a vegan product. On the back of the envelope is a small citric acid pouch. Not sure what the chemistry is here but basically you add the big envelope, sugar and water to a pan, heat it to dissolve the sugar and then add the acid to get the gelification process going.
And does it ever gel, in a very stiff way compared to say jello, yet remaining pliable. I got my mooncake mold out and poured it in my two sections. Since I only had one such mold I poured the rest in small pyrex cups, basically you get 4 1/2 cup serving out of it. Wanting a more decorative look I added some Thai Basil Seeds that I had previously prepared but they just floated on what would be the bottom of the jelly…..so it turned into a pointless decoration attempt.
Place in the fridge and let it set. It does not take long. It was also really easy to unmold…just pull a bit around the edge of the mold and it plopped out easy enough without a dent. As you can see below the detailed pattern of the mold is perfectly replicated.
The texture was a bit unusual: as I said much stiffer then jello but malleable at the same time. The lychee flavor was not strong enough and I was happy with my decision to cut down the required sugar amount to 3/4. It was a fun treat to try but I would not run out to the store to get it. Incorporating it into a layer dessert treat with cake or something could be interesting though. For a 1$ an envelope it is worth playing with it at least once