To cool you down in this hot, hot weather, here's a refreshing treat for you guys! Asian-style set desserts such as agar-agar and konnyaku are things people back home would love to have on extremely hot days. What I love about konnyaku is that they're SO chewy to chew on ... Ah ... good enough to satisfy my craving for snacks. Why?
Made from seaweed, these chewy mini jellies have almost no calories and very fibrous at the same time! What more can you ask for in a good and yet simple summer dessert! My mom and aunt sent me konnyaku and agar-agar powder sometime back. While konnyaku powder is readily available in Malaysia and Singapore, I'm unsure about Western countries like the U.S. though. So, for those of you living overseas and are craving for some konnyaku, you can try your quest at Asian grocers.
As for dried chrysanthemum (菊花), I'm sure it's available at Asian grocers, especially those located in big city areas. This flower has a kind of floral scent that is so soothing. Plus, chrysanthemum tea is often consumed for its medicinal uses, such as soothing your throat, lowering high blood pressure and relieving from headache. As much as I can recall, I've been drinking this tea since young ... It's a very familiar part of my life.
Also, the Southern Chinese fruit longan (龍眼) are almost always sold in cans. They can be easily found at Asian grocers. Canned ones and sometimes, dark-colored dried ones (桂圓) are normally used to make East Asian jelly and other desserts because fresh ones are simply not available all year round.
Chrysanthemum & Longan Konnyaku 龍眼菊花水晶糕
30g dried chrysanthemum (the ones for brewing tea)
250ml boiling water
1/2~1 tsp molasses (for flavoring and coloring, but optional)
355ml syrup from the canned longan
10g konnyaku powder
55~65g sugar, or to taste
Some canned longan, sliced each into 4 smaller pieces
- Pour the boiling water over the dried chrysanthemum, then cover to let steep for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, drain but reserve both the chrysanthemum and tea--keep them in two separate bowls. Dissolve the molasses into the tea completely; set both aside for use later
- Boil (A) together in a pot over medium-high heat till the mixture just starts to boil. Meanwhile, whisk (B) together
- When the mixture in the pot has just started to boil, gradually whisk in the (B) mixture till everything is well-dissolved
- Turn off the heat, then stir in the chrysanthemum tea and whisk to blend well
- Rinse the jelly molds with cold water, then place some of the reserved chrysanthemum and longan slices into each of the molds. Next, divide the konnyaku mixture evenly among the molds quickly before it sets up
*Because I don't have any of the specially designed mini jelly molds from home with me, I used mini muffin tins instead. But, it all depends on you whether you'd like to make it jumbo or mini. You can also use small ramekins, too!
- Leave the jelly to cool thoroughly aside, then refrigerate it till set before serving--overnight chilling preferably
- Unmold the chilled and set konnyaku jelly to serve