20 May 2005

Coconut, lime and mango jelly (IMBB 15)

We've been invited for Thai curry at K&M's, and I hate turning up for dinner without at least bringing something, however small. It must stem from the pot-luck culture of my extended family. Picture the scene: one grandmother, 2 biological aunts, 3 biological uncles, their 5 respective partners, their sum total of 11 kids, plus my own parents and brother, all needing to be fed. There's absolutely no way on earth that any one person can cook for that many at a time, even at a barbie. So we devised a system of pot luck from way back. It never mattered who was hosting the family event of the moment, everyone brought something. And you didn't necessarily have to cook it yourself; it was perfectly acceptable to turn up with delicacies from a well-known hawker stall or speciality food shop (e.g. bak chang or bao from Katong, where most of my maternal relatives live). That has instilled in me an absolute law that I must never turn up empty-handed at anyone's house for dinner (we make an exception for P's parents, 'cos we're usually too busy weeding the veggie patch until sun-down to do much cooking).

So, back on the subject, K's cooking us some of her speciality Thai curry tonight, and I prepared some orient-inspired jelly to finish off our dinner. Well, actually, it was inspired by Delia's coconut lime jelly recipe, but don't tell anyone that a South-East Asian had to resort to Delia Online for a dessert recipe! By a stroke of luck, IMBB 15, hosted by elise of Simply Recipes, is all about jelly: IMBB-15 Has my blog jelled? - May 22. It's about time I joined in on IMBB, having salivated over the last few.

The recipe calls for Rowntree lime jelly, something I've never been a fan of. Plus, my aunt sent me bucket-loads of a Japanese jelly-powder that has been all the rage at home, along with three ever-so-sweet flower moulds that are also doing the rounds. It's not gelatine, nor is it agar-agar. It's Konnyaku, extracted from a yam-like tuber, and alleged to have health benefits. I'm very sceptical about the claims, but have to admit it makes a fine, firm jelly. Also, I don't have any agar-agar in the kitchen (although I often toy with the idea of using laboratory-grade agarose).

Ingredients (click on the first photo below for annotations):

  • 10g Konnyaku powder
  • 110g sugar
  • 750ml water
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 limes, for their juice and zest
  • 2 tins of mango slices, drained and the syrup reserved

Method:

  1. Mix the Konnyaku powder with the sugar. Measure out 550ml of liquid in a large pot (I used the reserved syrup from one tin of mangoes and water) and whisk in the sugar/Konnyaku mix in batches.
  2. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk, and allow to come up to the boil again.
  3. Take the pot off the heat, and whisk in the the juice and zest of 1 lime.
  4. If making lots of little jellies, place a slice or two of mango in each well. If making a massive jelly, lay out the slices in a pretty pattern... Or do whatever you please... I'm no good at the aesthetics.
  5. Ladle enough jelly mix into each mould so it's a third full, then repeat until the mould is filled.
  6. Chill overnight (or 3 hours at a push).
  7. Puree the remaining slices of mango with a tbsp or two of the reserved syrup, and the juice and zest of one lime.
  8. To serve, ease the little jellies out by dipping the base of the mould in some warm water, then up-ending onto a tray/plate. Spoon on some mango puree or do something artistic if so inclined.

Since I'm posting this before we've had it for dinner, I'll be back with photos and reviews of the jellies tomorrow, after we've slept off our hangover.

Ingredients for coconut and mango jelly Mango leaf Prep stage for coconut and mango jelly to be continued
Ingredients Jelly mould Halfway there ...

Update: Dinner was called off as our hosts were unwell. I will upload photos of the jellies soon, when we get round to eating them... It won't be the same without the Thai curry before...

22 May '05 update: Elise of Simply Recipes has posted the round-up of IMBB 15's entries. All the entries look delectable! It'll be a great resource in the hot summer months for dessert ideas. Thanks Elise!

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5 comments:

Elise said...

It looks delicious! Can't wait to see the final result.

Santos said...

(laughing) when i was playing around with the agar-agar, i was tempted to make something that looked like a petri dish sample, but unfortunately, i don't have the right dishware....

i've never tried using konnyaku, i've only eaten it, but now i'm intrigued. and completely envious over your flower jelly moulds, too!

this looks refreshing and lovely--i'll have to try it soon.

boo_licious said...

Wow, those jellies look yum. I was looking at that same Delia Smith recipe and thinking about trying it.

Will definitely have to try your version since we can get konnyaku jelly powder in Malaysia.

In fact, I use the same brand and a similar mold.

Anthony said...

Sorry to hear about the dinner being called off. More for you.

Excellent to see something made from konnyaku that isn't konnyaku.

bramble said...

>Elise,
I'm afraid the final result was not so good... I think there was too much fat in the coconut milk, so the jelly was a bit too wobbly to retain it's shape (..flabby jelly..). I'm going to try again with half the coconut milk, and maybe a bit more konnyaku powder. Fortunately, my taste tester hoovers up jellies, regardless of floppiness.

>Santos,
Don't tempt me... I'm sure if I leave the yeast extract out of the agar and add some sugar, my petri cultures would taste quite nice. I might get chucked out of the lab though.

>boo_licious,
I wish I'd stuck to gelatin now! If you try the recipe, I'd suggest using less coconut milk. If I remember correctly from my childhood days of making almond tofu, a 1:5 ratio is probably better. I was being too greedy! (I noticed on your blog that you add 1 cup of yoghurt to the mix. I'll have to try that.)

>Anthony,
Aye, these things happen. We had worked ourselves up into a real Thai curry appetite too; it's not often someone is prepared to put the time and effort into making one from scratch.