I love Chinese herbs such as red dates, goji berries, and dried longan. Though they are most commonly used in Chinese herbal soups, there is nothing wrong in whipping out desserts out of them, especially when the the said dessert looks this pretty and tastes so light and yummy.
This lovely dessert is vegan-friendly and completely gluten-free. It is also full of anti oxidant and is nutritious for your body. And I am totally in love with the deep ruby red color of the jelly. ♥
Red dates, goji berries, and longan
These ingredients should be the three most commonly found in Chinese grocery store.
Red dates (jujube) are also very common in Korean cuisine, so you may be able to find this if you are close to a Korean grocery store.
Goji berries are getting mainstream lately, I have even spotted them in my regular grocery.
As for longan, it is best if you can get the dried version and then rehydrate. But if your only option is the canned version, that should also work, but your jelly will probably be less dark red compared to mine. Plus, I actually prefer the taste of rehydrated longan in this dessert (and many Chinese herbal soups) compared to the canned version.
Konnyaku jelly powder vs. agar powder
Once you cook everything, you end up with a sweet soup. To transform the soup into solid jelly form, you can either use konnyaku jelly powder, or agar powder. I have personally tried these following two brands for this recipe.
1. Swallow Brand “Kristal Agar” 10 gram packet (and it says agar-agar & jelly powder)
This is not the same as the Swallow Brand 7 gram packet of agar-agar powder (notice the lack of “jelly” in the 7 gram packet). You can get more detail from Swallow Globe site to scrutinize the difference so you don’t get the wrong one.
2. Now real food agar powder.
Again, you need 10 gram of the powder for this recipe.
With konnyaku jelly powder, I get a slightly chewy jelly. With agar powder, I get a cleaner crispier texture for my jelly. What you like depends on your personal preference. Taste wise, they are both the same. And regardless of choice, you still end up with a vegan friendly dessert.
Choice of jelly mold
With this recipe, you will end up with about 4.5-5 cups worth of liquid plus the solid herbs.
The easiest and fuss free option is to pour into an 8-inch square pan, let it solidify, and then cut into serving sizes just like a cake.
You can also pour them into individual serving ramekins or pretty ceramic glasses/bowls. Once the jelly becomes solid, you can serve them directly without unmolding.
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