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Kanten (Agar-agar) Raspberry Cubes

kanten One of the ingredients used in a lot of Japense desserts is kanten, also known as agar-agar. It’s a gelling agent made from seaweed, and not only is it flavourless and vegetarian (gelatine is derived from animal products), but it’s high in fibre, and contains 0 calories. In fact, it spurred a diet fad in Asia, known as the Kanten Diet. In Japan, we found it as jelly cubes in desserts such as Anmitsu, sometimes served with ice cream, or in traditional Japanese sweets.

I brought back a packet from Tokyo, and when I saw a beautiful-looking punnet of raspberries in the supermarket, I had to use it! Here’s what I did:

Kanten Cubes with fresh Raspberry

Ingredients:

  • 4 gm kanten (agar-agar) powder. If you can only find the flakes, you’ll probably need to use more…
  • 350ml water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • kanten2About 12 fresh raspberries

What to do:

  1. Put the water in a saucepan, and sprinkle over the kanten powder.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the lemon juice.
  5. Pour into a 6″ square container, and allow to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  6. It should have thinkened a bit by now, so put in the raspberries in neat rows, pushing them down so that they are covered by the liquid.
  7. Cover and refridgerate.
  8. To serve, remove from the container and cut into cubes.

PS. Agar-agar is most likely available at your local whole foods shop.

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6 Responses to “Kanten (Agar-agar) Raspberry Cubes”

  1. January 31st, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Anna says:

    How did it taste? The cubes look really cool and I recently found packets of this stuff in my local Filipino grocery store for a Russian “bird’s milk” cake I was trying to make, so now I’m looking for other uses. Thanks for sharing the instructions!

  2. January 31st, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Kieran says:

    It’s great! There’s no taste, really, from the agar-agar, so it’s a great medium for adding flavour. The trick is getting the consistency right, so that it’s not too rubbery or falls apart.

  3. February 1st, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Japanese Ice Cream says:

    Firstly, great photos, well done.

    I had this jelly when we were over in Japan a while back. The restaurant served it with sweetened red beans and vanilla ice cream. The jelly was a little sweet because they used some fruit juice to make it (peach the said). It was pretty good.

  4. February 3rd, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Camille says:

    These are lovely. Your photos are well done and would actually look fantastic in my kitchen! I’ve been to your blog for the green tea/ginger ice cream recipe and I will continue to check back. Very nice.

  5. July 23rd, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Nemesis says:

    That’s looks great

    I was wondering where in Dublin we can find some Kanten (agar-agar). i am on diet so I am also looking for sugar free aromes and liquid sweetener.
    It’s probably not the right place to ask this but if you have some tips it will be awesome !!

    Thanks a million

  6. July 23rd, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Kieran says:

    Your local wholefood shop should be the best source of all of that!

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Kieran Murphy is a director of Murphys Ice Cream living in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

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Murphys Ice Cream

Murphys Ice Cream has shops in Dingle, Killarney and Dublin 2 (Wicklow Street).