Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mango coconut splice jellies

September 25-26, 2015

I didn't eat many desserts, as such, on our holiday in Vietnam earlier this year. I did drink lots of sweet and colourful beverages, though, and I picked up a slim recipe book of Tropical Desserts at the airport with our last remaining dong. This jelly recipe is adapted from that book - the original includes veg-friendly agar-agar as the setting agent, but uses dairy cream for the white layer. Coconut cream was an easy substitute that readily took on a pandan infusion. I've had good and bad experiences with agar-agar, and this was definitely a good one. The jelly set hard and fast, creating neat mango and coconut layers that sliced smoothly and were firm enough to serve as finger food.

Served alongside Vietnamese-style coffees on soy condensed milk, they were the perfect end to an epic lunch. My holiday companions teamed up to concoct a cơm chay-style buffet of rice, mock meats, pickles, rolls, savoury doughnuts, and other assorted sprinklings. (Props to Vincent Vegetarian Food and Minh Phat for great supplies.) We had little trouble finding a dozen folks to help us eat it (and still, Michael and I face a week of makeshift banh mis stuffed with the leftovers). Lucky for us, there remains a small supply of the jellies to ration out too.

Mango coconut splice jellies
(adapted from Devagi Sanmugam's Tropical Desserts)

mango layer
300g mango flesh (I got mine from 1 1/2 small cans)
500mL syrup from canned mangos
2 tablespoons agar-agar powder
150g caster sugar
a drop of lemon essence

coconut layer
400mL can coconut cream
600mL water
2 tablespoons agar-agar powder
250g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 pandan leaves

Get out a large, rectangular tray to set the jelly in. Optionally spray it with oil to prevent sticking.

Blend together the mango and syrup until smooth.  Transfer them to a saucepan and stir in the agar-agar over medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boil, and stir it constantly for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and lemon essence until completed dissolved. Pour the mango jelly mixture into the tray and refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes.

Clean out the saucepan and use it to whisk together the coconut cream and water. Stir in the agar-agar powder, sugar and salt and set it over medium heat. Knot the pandan leaves and add them to the mixture to diffuse their flavour. Bring the mixture to the boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Discard the pandan leaves and pour the coconut mixture on top of the mango layer in the tray. Refrigerate the layered jelly for at least an hour before serving. Slice it into small squares.


  1. they look really lovely-- perfect layers!

    1. Thanks, Veganopoulous! In this instance, the agar-agar was actually great to work with. Quick setting and sturdy makes for nice layers. :-)

  2. I adore Asian style jellies, but I've never made them at home I shall have to try these.

    1. Hi Elizabeth - they're very easy, and the layers set quite quickly! Be mindful of the agar agar brand you buy, though - the second one I purchased tinted everything pink. Still tasty, but not quite the same pretty colours.