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
Hehe, I wonder what other shapes you could use..
Very interesting product, thanks for describing the whole process in detail!
I am playing with agar-agar at the moment; since it has digestive and slendering properties, I figured I would try it for a while. Love the molds of these jellies.
Those are so cool. I have to keep and eye out for those. I have been looking for molds like that everywhere.
Evelyne…you just brought back memories of you and I in the Chinatown store seeking out original mooncake molds. These seem very nice. Glad to see different uses for them.
I have to say, it’s great that you try these experiments out for us…it certainly cures our curiousity from seeing so many products on the store shelves.
Btw…I’m glad you finally had a chance to visit the Asian store in St-Laurent.
I may have one more Asian store (out of the way) to show you on our next tour ;o) Then, we’ll continue on an Italian spin around 😉
Ciao for now,
What a fun new product to try out!