Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Konjac or konnyaku

Have you ever eaten S E Asian style Konjac candy, rubbery jelly/jello cups that look like these? I like them but in recent years this candy had very bad press and banned in some countries due to some children choked to death eating them. I reckon children could eat these jelly cups without chewing and also sucking the jelly out of the plastic cup can be dangerous because the lump of jelly can slip down into the throat before one has the chance to chew, leading to choking or worse fatality.

Konjac is also called konnyaku or 蒟蒻 in Chinese, a gum (gelling agent) extracted from konjac plant or elephant foot yam or devil's tongue. Konjac is widely used in Japan, China and other S E Asian countries for various products. Japanese used konjac to make black or white yam cake for soup or stew. Another common use of konjac for translucent noodles (yam noodles or shirataki noodles).

Konjac is not deadly if consumed with care and there are other benefits. It is zero fat, zero calorie (if no sugar is added) and very high in fibre. A very good slimming product because it fills you up without the calories. If you like noodles with carbs free, konjac noodles are great. These noodles are similar to mung bean or glass noodles, texture a bit more chewy or rubbery.

In S E Asia you can buy pure konnyaku powder or one already mixed with sugar. I have never seen this product anywhere in England. Most people use this pure powder or ready mixed powder to make jelly/jello dessert, adding flavourings and fruits. Here is a picture of the packet I normally buy. I stock pile every time going back to the far east. This powder will keep for years (beyond its used by date) without deterioration.

Pure konnyaku powder is very concentrated. One sachet can make about 1 litre of jelly/jello. By adding fruits you can double the volume. The other advantage of adding fruits is likely safer for children because it is less likely a solid piece of rubbery plug (causing choking) and needs to chew to eat it. Also homemade konnyaku jelly/jello I think is softer than commercial jelly candy because more water is added.

Konnyaku jelly/jello is easier to mould into any shape, less fragile than gelatin or agar and it is crystal clear if dissolve in sugar and water without fruit juice. The only negative IMO is it is tricky to dissolve, cook and it sets very quickly on contact with cool surface. Pure Konnyaku powder will congeal forming lumps in contact with water, cold or hot. Best way to handle it is mixing the powder with sugar first. That is why they also sell konnyaku readily mixed with sugar. Once mixed with sugar the starch is diluted and less like to form lumps when wet. Always add cold water to mix. And during boiling needs constant stirring or the mixture can be lumpy or stick to the pan.

Here is how I make yummy konnyaku jelly/jello. If you can find this powder give it a try. And if you like the texture it's very addictive.

Konnyaku jelly/jello with canned fruits and red ones with added grenadine syrup


1 pkt konnyaku powder 蒟蒻粉 (10g)
** if using the powder already mixed with sugar, follow the packet instructions and omit extra sugar.


about 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar if use canned fruits with syrup or fruit juice. If using fresh fruits without fruit juice or syrup, use about 2/3 cups sugar. This is just a guide you can add as much sugar to your taste. You can also use artificial sugar, adjust to your taste.

about 1 litre of canned fruits with juice or syrup incl. (I like lychee and/or mixed cocktail fruits). You can also use fresh fruits like strawberry, raspberry, kiwi, fresh pineapple, melons etc... Kiwi and fresh pineapple do not react with konnyaku like gelatin. You can also add nata de coco, like the candy cups.

** Some people like to add a little citric acid powder to the jelly mix. I was told this will make the jelly more rubbery (more Q, Chinese expression for bounciness or rubbery texture). I don't find citric acid is necessary when using canned fruits, fresh fruits or juice there is plenty of fruit acid. If you do use citric acid add 1/2 tsp.

  • Mix powder with sugar.
  • If using canned fruits, drain. Keep the juice or syrup. Put juice/syrup into measuring cup and top up with water to 900 - 950ml.
  • If using fresh fruits. Measure 900 - 950ml water. If you like to add fruit juice or fruit squash or grenadine/rose syrup, replace water.
  • If you want to make the jelly/jello without adding fruits, use 1 - 1.1 litre of water or water mixed with fruit juice or fruit squash or grenadine/rose syrup. Grenadine syrup is a good one to use if you like a red colour jelly.
*If you only use water and sugar without any fruit juice the jelly will be crystal clear.
  • Put fruits into moulds or small cups, or you can add fruits to the jelly mixture at the last minute when it is ready to pour into moulds.
  • Add water or other liquid slowly while stirring into konnyaku mix. When no longer lumpy add remaining water/liquid at once.
  • Boil at medium to medium low heat, stirring more when liquid starting to get hot and mixture is getting thick. Try not to splash the liquid too much onto the side of the pan above the liquid level, the liquid will set hard if dried by heat or set into jelly rapidly if on cooler surface. This mixture will boil and become very frothy if unattended. When the liquid is hot and konnyaku has dissolved completely (liquid looks clearer and no lumps). It is ready. You can add fruits at this point to the mixture if you preferred.
  • Ladle or pour the liquid into the moulds or cups. Try not to spill this will set very quickly on contact with cooler surface. If you are not working quick enough and liquid is congealing, reheat the liquid, scrape down any congealed bits heat till dissolve.
  • The jelly/jello will set once cooled to room temperature. To remove from moulds, use a cocktail stick, tilt the mould downwards, lightly dig the cocktail stick into the jelly/jello from the side of the mould and flip it out. Put into container and chill. Will keep in the fridge for 4 - 5 days if they last that long.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Yu Sang (Chinese Ceviche)

Continue from the last post, this is my version, if you had yu sung before it could be very different from mine.


200 -250g of sushi grade salmon or tuna
1 carrot about 120 - 150g
about 200g of mooli or daikon
2 stalks of spring onion
1/2 medium red onion
about 50 - 60g of sushi style sweet pickled ginger
1 chunk of ginger, use tenderer part if you can
1 large red chilli
small handful of coriander
handful or roasted peanut*
about 25g of glass noodles or bean thread vermicelli
1/2 cup of oil for deep frying

for the dressing
100g of chinese plum sauce
Juice from 1 decent size lime
about 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
about 1 tbsp of roasted sesame oil
pinch of freshly ground pepper

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Shred or cut carrot, mooli, spring onion and fresh ginger into superfine long thin strips. If you have one of those Japanese mandoline, it makes prep work a lot easier (not for the spring onion). If not just cut as fine as you possibly could. Squeeze out any excess water from the shredded mooli. Cut the pickled ginger into around 3mm thick strips. Rougly chopped a small handful of coriander and leave a few whole leaves for garnish. Thinly sliced the red onion.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing the plum sauce, lime juice, enough soy sauce to taste, sesame oil, shredded fresh ginger and chilli. The plum sauce is quite sweet, if you don't like the dressing too sweet add in the plum sauce a bit at a time till you are happy with the taste and add more lime juice if you like it sharp.
  3. Then prepare the fish. If it is with skin, remove that and remove any pin bones. Cut into thin slices. Mix 3/4 of the dressing with the fish and let it stand for about 10 minutes up to 1 hour if you want to make it in advance. Reserve the remaining dressing for later.
  4. Crushed the roasted peanuts.
  5. Cut the dried glass noodles to about 8 - 10 cm long using a kitchen scissors, split them up loosely. Heat about 1/2 cup of oil in a wok till quite hot, take about few strands of noodles and drop into the hot oil. The noodles will frizzle and expand a lot. Take them out as soon as they expand and leave on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Continue frying the rest of noodles till finished. Do not fry these noodles too early they could go chewy, if you want to do it in advance warm it up in the oven to crispen up before use.
  6. Then build the salad by mixing the vegetables (except the pickled ginger) together. Pile this on a large plate, sprinkle the pickled ginger on top, then surround the plate with fried noodles. Pile on the marinated fish on top, sprinkle on any remaining dressing if you wish. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts and ready to eat
  7. This recipe is enough for 2 - 3 generous portions. When you serve this dish, everyone gets to toss the salad, tossing is a symbol for good luck for the Chinese.

* I always use freshly roasted peanut using raw red skin peanuts roasted in a dry pan medium heat and stirring all the time till the peanuts turned light brown. Then let cool and remove the skin using a colander. I like this unsalted freshly roasted peanuts more than the ready to eat roasted and salted peanuts from the supermarket. If you can't be bothered or don't have time use the packet.