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Agar Agar and Mock Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Che Suong Sa Hot Luu)

Refreshing icy treat to quench your thirst and satiate that sweet tooth: Agar Agar Jelly and Faux Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Che Suong Sa Hat Luu) | recipe from runawayrice.comThis popular chilled Vietnamese dessert with slivers of refreshing agar agar jelly, deliciously chewy mock pomegranate seeds, sweet mashed mung bean, creamy coconut milk and sweet syrup infused with Pandan aroma is full of amazing flavor and unique textures. Nothing is more refreshing than enjoying a big bowl or mug of this icy sweet treat on a hot summer day and this recipe will not disappoint. In this post, I share two different methods for making the mock pomegranate seeds. Both recipes are delicious and a lot of fun to make. Give them a try and let me know which one is your favorite!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

This recipe has a few different components and can seem daunting but it’s really not. Most ingredients can be prepared in advance like the Agar Agar Jelly, Simple Syrup, Coconut Sauce and Mashed Mung Bean. These supporting ingredients can be made the day before and then refrigerated. For the mashed mung bean, as it has a tendency to harden when refrigerated, simply add about 3/4 cup boiling water and mix together to achieve the fluffy mashed potatoes consistency again.

Use beet juice instead of the red food color for a more natural alternative. You may need to add a bit more beet juice to achieve the desired color. I’ve also seen these mock seeds made in assorted colors, so use your imagination and experiment. (Think red and green for the holidays!)

For the Mock Pomegranate Seeds made with water chestnuts recipe, if you really enjoy the chewiness of the tapioca starch, you can coat the water chestnuts 2-3 times with starch.

The All Tapioca Starch recipe for making the Mock Pomegranate Seeds is super fun and reminds me of elementary school science class. The starch mixture starts out as a liquid but once the paper towels absorb most of the water, you’re left with a solid chunk of tapioca. If the tapioca mixture doesn’t set after 5 minutes, remove the wet paper towels from the top and replace with new, dry ones. The same can be done for the underside of the tapioca when you flip it over. If the tapioca is still wet, simply use more paper towels to absorb the excess water.

If you let the Mock Pomegranate Seeds made with all tapioca starch dry completely, you can store in an air-tight plastic bag or container in your pantry and use at a later time.

After cooking and if not serving the mock pomegranate seeds right away, add just a little bit of the simple syrup or cold water to prevent the seeds from sticking together. Be sure to serve within the day or they will become bloated and soggy.

The pomegranate seeds are best enjoyed the day they are made but they can be refrigerated. To reheat, simply boil in water again for 5 minutes and then dunk in the ice bath to revive the chewy texture.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Refreshing Iced Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly, Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau), Sweet Mung Bean Pudding (Che Tao Soan, Che Dau Xanh)

Ingredients

Agar Agar Jelly
2 cups water
2 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
1/3 cup sugar

Mashed Mung Bean
1 cup peeled, split mung bean
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar

Simple Syrup
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
8-inch Pandan leaf

1 3/4 cups Coconut Sauce

Mock Pomegranate Seeds using Water Chestnuts
2-8 oz cans water chestnuts (10 oz drained)
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp red food color or beet juice

Mock Pomegranate Seeds using All Tapioca Starch
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/4 cups tapioca starch
1/2 Tbsp red food color or beet juice
1 tsp water

Directions

To make the Mashed Mung Bean: Wash the beans several times with cold water until the water is mostly clear. Soak the beans in a large bowl of water for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Wash the beans again with cold water and then drain well. Transfer the beans to a rice cooker. Add salt and water. Spread out the beans into an even layer in the cooker. Close the lid and set to Cook. When the cooker switches to the Keep Warm setting, unplug from the wall outlet. Add sugar. Using a paddle spoon, quickly mash the beans while mixing in the sugar. (This takes about 2 minutes.)
Close the lid and let the beans cooking using the residual heat for another 10 minutes.
Transfer the mashed mung bean into a bowl. Cover and set aside for now.

To make the Simply Syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over Medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolve. When the syrup starts to a boil, turn off the heat.
Add the Pandan leaf.
Allow the syrup to cool and then transfer to a serving bowl. Set the syrup aside for now.

To make the Agar Agar Jelly: Whisk together the agar agar powder and water. (The powder won’t dissolve completely.) Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
Cook over Medium heat, stirring continuously to dissolve the powder. Add the sugar and combine.
When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. During this time, skim the foam from the top and discard.
Pour the hot jelly mixture into a glass dish or bowl. Allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour or until it sets.
Run a knife around the container to loosen the jelly and then cut into thick bars.
Use a mandoline with a blade for thick cuts to shred the jelly.
Cover the jelly and chill in the refrigerator until serving time.

To make the Mock Pomegranates Using Water Chestnuts: Drain the canned water chestnuts and then rinse with cold water. Chop the water chestnuts into small pieces.
Transfer half of the water chestnuts into a small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp red food color and combine well. Add 1/3 cup tapioca starch and combine with the water chestnuts coating all pieces evenly.
Transfer the coated water chestnuts to a fine colander and then toss gently to remove the excess starch.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a colander inside the bowl. Keep this close to the stove.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
Sprinkle a spoonful of the mock seeds into the boiling water and then stir to prevent sticking. Continue adding more spoonfuls of the mock seeds until all are added.
Reduce the heat to Low and cook until all the mock pomegranate seeds float to the top, approximately 2-3 minutes.
Transfer all seeds to the ice bath and let soak for 1 minute.
Transfer just the mock pomegranate seeds to bowl leaving the water behind.
Continue making the next batch with the remaining water chestnuts.

To make the Mock Pomegranates Using All Tapioca Starch: Line a 13 X 9-inch pan with 3-4 sheets of paper towels.
Add 1/2 cup tapioca starch to the water and stir until dissolved. Continue to gradually add the starch to the water, stirring each time until completely dissolved and until all the starch is added. (The mixture will become thick and sludgy.)
Pour the starch mixture into the paper towel-covered pan.
Place 3-4 more sheets of paper towels on top of the starch mixture, patting down gently. Let everything rest for 5 minutes.
Remove the paper towels from the top and discard. The tapioca mixture should be solid now and moist.
In a small bowl, combine the red food color and water.
Use a brush to evenly coat the tapioca with the red food color.
Place a cutting mat over the pan and then flip the pan over. Remove the pan and bottom layer of paper towels.
Brush this side with red food color as well.
Let the tapioca mixture rest until the surface is dry, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Using a sharp knife, cut the tapioca vertically into thin strips, approximately 1/4-inch thick.
Cut horizontally now to make small squares.
Use a spatula to lift and separate the tapioca pieces. Then gently break the pieces apart along the cut lines.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
Sprinkle a spoonful of the mock seeds into the boiling water being careful not to dip the spoon into the water. Use chopsticks or another spoon to stir the seeds to prevent sticking.
Continue adding more spoonfuls and stirring until all mock seeds are added.
Cook over Medium Low heat boiling gently for 10 minutes and stirring frequently.
Transfer all seeds to the ice bath and let soak for 1 minute.
Transfer just the mock pomegranate seeds to bowl leaving the water behind.

To assemble this wonderful dessert, add a generous amount of crushed ice into a large mug or bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the agar agar jelly, sweet mashed mung bean and mock pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the creamy coconut sauce and simple syrup. Mix everything together.  Now add a big straw to slurp up your icy drink or grab a big spoon and dig into your dessert soup. Enjoy!

Yields: 4-6 servings

Icy Cold and Refreshing Agar Agar Jelly and Mock Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Che Suong Sa Hot Luu) | recipe from runawayrice.com

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Easy recipe for Faux Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Hat/Hot Luu) | recipe from runawayrice.comEasy recipe (and video) for making mock pomegranate seeds (hot luu) to enjoy with your favorite desserts and icy drinks! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Dessert Time!! Serving up Che Suong Sa Hat Luu: Simple Syrup, Sweet Mashed Mung Bean, Creamy Coconut Sauce, Faux Pomegranate Seeds (2 different version) and Agar Agar Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Refreshing Iced Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly

Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.comFragrant jasmine green tea is combined with lychee jelly to make an icy and refreshing drink that is sure to quench any thirst. This recipe is super simple, contains just a few ingredients and no more difficult than making Jello. I’ve come to really love this drink switching from the tapioca pearls to the jelly not too long ago and I am addicted! What I didn’t love was having to pay $4.75 for a single drink at my local tea and juice shop so I decided to save some money and make this cool and refreshing drink at home. No more paying for a high-priced drinks. For about the same price you can make this delicious drink at home and have 4 servings. Gotta love that! 🙂

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Refrigerate the can of lychees overnight and skip having to quick chill the liquid. You must use cold liquid with gelatin.

Use unflavored gelatin. 3 tsp gelatin makes a medium-firm jelly and 4 tsp makes a firm gelatin. The firm jelly holds up better in drinks.

Be sure to stir, stir and stir to completely dissolve the gelatin. It takes longer than you think–approximately 5 minutes. If you don’t stir well, you will have get a thick rubbery layer on the bottom of the jelly from the settling gelatin powder.

I love bits of the lychee fruit in my jelly. If you prefer a smooth jelly, skip the fruit. The recipe remains the same.

Adjust the sweetness based on your preference. Add the sweetener to the hot tea to help it dissolve easily. Honey is my personal favorite with this drink because it’s more delicate than table sugar. Feel free to use sugar substitutes like agave syrupSplenda or Stevia.

This recipe can easily be adapted to make other delicious and fruity flavors: mango, coconut, jackfruit to name a few. The recipe remains the same.

Consume the jelly within 2-3 days for best flavor.

Ingredients

20 oz can of lychees in syrup
4 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 jasmine green tea bags
4 cups boiling water
4 Tbsp honey

Directions

Open the can of lychees and drain 1 cup syrup into a large measuring cup. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup syrup into another measuring cup and set aside for now. Put the larger cup into the freezer and chill for 20 minutes.

Take 5 lychees and chop into small pieces. Set aside for now. Save some of the remaining lychees to garnish the drink and enjoy the rest.

Remove the cold syrup from the freezer. Sprinkle gelatin on top of the syrup and let stand for 1 minute.

Heat the remaining 1/2 cup syrup in the microwave on High until it boils, approximately 1 minute.

Add the hot syrup to the cold syrup/gelatin mixture and stir together for 5 minutes, making sure the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Add the chopped lychees and mix together.

Pour the mixture into dish or bowl holding approximately 3 cups.

Chill in the refrigerator until the jelly sets, approximately 4 hours.

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and discard.

Add the honey and combine well. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

Run a sharp knife along the edge of the dish to loosen the jelly. Invert the dish onto a cutting board to unmold the jelly.

Cut the lychee jelly into small chunks using a wavy knife.

Fill a tall glass 2/3 full with crushed ice. Spoon 3-4 Tbsp lychee jelly on top of the crushed ice. Pour in the jasmine green tea covering the ice.

Place 1-2 lychees into each glass, add a big sipping straw and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.com Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.com

Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.comJasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.comJasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.comJasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.comJasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.com

Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.com

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Jackfruit Smoothie (Sinh To Mit), Avocado Smoothie (Sinh To Bo) and Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau)

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee Jelly | recipe from runawayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*

 

 

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Jellied Pork (Thịt Đông)

A savory meat jelly made with pork and wood ear mushrooms.

If you are not familiar with this dish, it may look rather unusual.  What is this exactly?  Meat-filled snow globes?  Fossilized pork parts?  Interestingly, this dish of jellied meat is not distinct to just Asian cuisine, but is also popular in Eastern and Western European cuisine as well.  The traditional recipes use meats with cartilage such as hocks, feet, tails, etc., as the cartilage contains the gelatine needed to set the dish.  These recipes are laborious to make because the meats need to be thoroughly cleaned–these choice parts are often not the most sanitary.  Additionally, breaking down cartilage often takes hours of slow cooking.  Thank goodness for packaged gelatine!  Now, we can use a leaner, cleaner cuts of meat, cook the dish in a quarter of the time and still have it solidify beautifully.  As odd as it may appear, this scrumptious dish is full of flavor and contrasting textures.  The savory, grainy pork in comparison to the cold, smooth jelly may confuse your taste buds but once you try this Jellied Pork, your mouth will be begging for more.  🙂

Notes on the recipe, tips and tricks

Use any cut of meat you like but pick something with a little bit of fat which helps the meat to be tender.

We cook the wood ear mushrooms separately and then add to the pork in the final step.  We do this because cooking the mushrooms with the pork turns the broth a murky, brown color which is not so appetizing.

Use any small bowls, cups, molds or pans you have.  In the video, I use 8 small glass bowls from Libbey.

Cover and store any uneaten portions in the refrigerator.  This is best if consumed within the week.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1 medium carrot
2-inch section fresh ginger
3 shallots
2 lbs pork butt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 oz dried wood ear mushroom slivers
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil + 1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 packet (.25 oz or 7 gm ) unflavored gelatine

Directions

Peel the carrot and cut 8 coins about 1/4-inch thick.  Use decorative vegetable cutters to make 8 carrot flowers.

Remove the skin from the fresh ginger.  Cut the ends off the shallots, remove the skin and then cut in half.

Cut the pork butt into smaller sections and then cut into slices about 3/4 inch x 1 1/2 inches and approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Place the sliced pork into a bowl and add the sugar, salt, ground white pepper, and 1 tsp minced garlic.  Combine together and let the meat marinate for 15 minutes.

Place the wood ear mushrooms into a microwave-safe bowl and cover with hot water.  Allow to soak for 10 minutes.  Place the bowl into the microwave and cook on High for 4 minutes.  Drain the mushrooms into a colander and rinse with cool water several times.

Heat a pan over Medium High heat and when hot, add the vegetable oil and 1 tsp minced garlic.  Stir-fry for 15 seconds.  Add the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until it’s just slightly pink.  Add the fish sauce, shallots, ginger and water and combine together.  Cover the pan and increase the heat to High to bring to a boil.  As soon as the broth boils, reduce the heat to Low and skim off all the foam.  Cover the pan again and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pork is tender.

Add the gelatine and stir together.  Turn off the heat, add the wood ear mushrooms and combine together.  Remove the ginger and shallots from the pan and discard.

Center a carrot flower on the bottom of each bowl.  Layer an even amount of pork and mushrooms into each of the small bowls.  Strain the broth into a measuring cup.  Pour the broth into each bowl covering the pork.  Using the back of a spoon, press down on the pork to submerge it in the broth.  Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and then place in the refrigerator.  Chill for 4 hours, overnight is best.

To serve, run a sharp knife around the bowl to loosen the jelly.  Invert the Jellied Pork onto a plate.  Serve with a generous side of Pickled Mustard Greens and hot rice.  Enjoy!

Yields:  8 servings

The contrast of the cold Jellied Pork with the steaming hot rice is to die for!

Jellied Pork (Thit Dong), Pickled Mustard Greens (Dua Cai Chua) and Sticky Rice and Mung Bean Cakes (Banh Chung)

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Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau)

Eye-catching Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau) is the Bomb! | recipe from runawayrice.comThis beautiful dessert, often called Rainbow Dessert, with its vibrant colors reminds me of summertime.  There’s nothing more enjoyable on a hot summer day than eating this chilly, sweet treat.  Sadly, this week is the end of summer and so I am celebrating the remaining days by making my favorite summer indulgence.  Three Color Dessert is quite popular and available in most Vietnamese restaurants and banh mi/sandwich shops but I always find them overly sweet such that I can never finish the entire portion.  The great thing about making this dessert at home is you get to control the sugar.  Yes, this dessert is plenty sweet as you can see from the below recipe.  I would say my recipe is medium on the sweetness scale for desserts but please feel free to adjust to your tastes.  If you are watching your sugar levels, consider cutting back on the sugar or using a sugar substitute.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

This recipes makes about 4 cups of grated jelly and so you’ll have some left over.  You can cut the jelly recipe in half or you can double the amount of red beans and mung bean to match the jelly.  I personally don’t mind having some jelly leftover.  I simply enjoy it as is.

I use a dish measuring 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches so the jelly can be between 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.  This thickness is needed to grate the jelly using a mandolin.  If you don’t have a rectangular or square dish consider using a bowl or a plastic storage container keeping in mind the height needed for grating.  If all you have is a large dish, you can cut the jelly into slivers with a sharp knife.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  🙂

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Jackfruit Smoothie (Sinh To Mit) and Agar Agar and Mock Pomegranate Seeds Dessert (Che Suong Sa Hot Luu).

Ingredients

for the Red Layer
1-15.5 oz can red beans
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar

for the Yellow Layer
3 Tbsp sugar
1 cup mashed mung bean

for the Green Layer
1 1/2 Tbsp agar agar powder
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp Pandan paste

for the Topping
4 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup coconut sauce

Directions

Making the Green Layer
In a medium saucepan, add water and sprinkle in the agar agar powder.  Whisk together blending the powder and water.  (The powder won’t dissolve completely until it’s heated.)  Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.  Heat the mixture over medium heat stirring constantly.  As soon as it starts to bubble, add the sugar and turn off the heat.  Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 2-3 minutes.  Skim off the foam using a sieve or spoon and discard.  Add the Pandan paste and combine well.  Pour the jelly mixture into a dish or bowl.  Use a spoon to skim off the bubbles from the top of the jelly.  Allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour.  Then refrigerate for 4 hours until firm.

After the jelly is set, run a knife around the edge.  Cut the jelly into thin bars, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.  Grate the jelly using a mandolin.  (Use the blade with the fewest teeth to achieve the thickest shreds.)

Making the Red Layer
Pour the red beans into a colander and rinse several times with cool water washing away the canning liquid and salt.  Drain and place into a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the water until it boils.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, approximately 2-3 minutes.  Add the syrup to the red beans.  Let the beans soak in the syrup until the dessert is ready to be served.

Making the Yellow Layer
In a small bowl, add the mashed mung and sugar.  Combine until the mung bean is smooth and creamy.  Set aside for now.

To serve the dessert, add some crushed ice into a clear glass or dish.  Add 2-3 spoonfuls of red bean, 1-2 spoons of mung bean, 2-3 Tbsp of green jelly, and 1/2 cup crushed ice.  Top the dessert with a heaping spoon of coconut sauce.  Enjoy right away!

Yields: 4 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Three Color Dessert--super easy, super delicious! | recipe from runawayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Marbled Coffee and Cream Gelatin

 

This recipe is a twist to my earlier post on the Coffee and Cream Agar Jelly.  Let’s say you can’t get to an Asian grocery store to buy agar agar powder and because you’re so busy you don’t have the time to make the dessert layer by layer but still want to enjoy this cool, refreshing dessert.  Well, I have a recipe shortcut for making this dessert that is eye-catching and mouth-pleasing!  My inspiration was the turtle brownie with its beautiful flow of dark brown and caramel colors.  You’ll be happy to know there’s no wrong way to make this version of the dessert.  Swirl the coffee and cream as much or as little as you’d like for the most appealing dessert.

Ingredients

4 envelopes of unflavored gelatin (total of 1 ounce or 28 grams)
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar

For the Coffee Layer:
4 tsp instant coffee (I use 2 packets of Starbucks Via)
1/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup cold water

For the Cream Layer:
1/4 cup half and half
3 heaping Tbsp coconut cream (this is the top portion of canned coconut milk)
1/2 cup cold water

Directions

Mix the instant coffee with hot water.  Stir to dissolve.  Add cold water to make 1 cup.

Combine the half and half and coconut cream.  Add cold water to make 1 cup.

In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup water.  Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let stand for 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1 cup water and sugar.  Heat the mixture over Medium heat stirring constantly to dissolve the gelatin and sugar, approximately 4-5 minutes.  Turn off the heat.

Measure out 1 cup of the gelatin mixture into a shallow dish and leave the remaining in the saucepan.

Add the coffee mixture to the gelatin mixture in the dish.  Stir well to combine.   Place the dish in the refrigerator.

Pour the cream mixture into the saucepan and combine.

After refrigerating the coffee mixture for 1 hour, remove from fridge.

Drizzle the cream mixture on top of the coffee mixture.  (Coffee mixture should just be starting to set.)  Use a spoon to create swirls if desired.  Return dish to the refrigerator and chill for at another 3 hours.

To serve, cut into slices or squares.

Yields: 6-8 servings

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