Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mango Agar Dessert

I am feeling very lucky! Not only did my friend Hiroko write a great guest blog, but her friend Thom, who is becoming my friend too, volunteered to share her recipe for a favorite dessert, Mango Agar, via a guest blog post.

Mangos, pre-agar bath

Thom and I recently ran into each other at - where else? – a produce stand and we got to talking about our shared love of produce.  Thom is originally from Hong Kong, which I hope means some joint shopping trips to Chinatown soon! 

Mangoes, of course, are very popular in Asia, and so is agar, a plant-based (algae-based, to be more specific) alternative to gelatin. Agar can be used to clarify stocks or as a substitute for pectin in jams, and more recently it's been used in diet studies, since its high fiber content gives a feeling of satiety. But it's mainly used in chilled Asian desserts - jellies, custards and puddings - that are understandably appealing in warm, humid climates. Thom describes her mango agar as a hybrid of Malaysia agar and the Chinese mango pudding that is often served on dim sum menus. 

Here is Thom's recipe:

1) Melt about a handful of agar strands in 5 quarts of boiling water. I use the non-processed agar form, which looks like dry and clear grass, long and stringy. Agar also comes in powdered form. If you want to use that kind, check the label for usage. Every brand is different and varies in the quantities of powdered agar you'll need (probably between 1 and 2 tablespoons).
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Agar strands out in force

2) Let the pot simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all the agar is dissolved.  Let the agar cool, then pour it through a sieve into a large mixing bowl. 

3) Peel and dice 5 ripe mangoes. I like to use fresh mango and I like using Ataulfo mangos best because they have less fiber and are much sweeter than other varieties.

Mango fest

4) Pour in 7 oz. of condensed milk into the mixing bowl and mix in well. You can also use soy milk and agave nectar as a lactose-free/vegan alternative. If you've pureed the mango, mix it well with the condensed milk. 

The milk-agar combo

5) Pour the milk mixture into individual containers. If you're using diced mango, distribute equal amounts of mango into each container. 
6) Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve. Enjoy!

Just chillin'

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm. "Miruku (Milk) Kanten (Agar)". I grew up eating them, they were even on school lunch back in 70s in Japan. Great recipe Thom!