This Yuzu Agar Jelly makes a great light dessert, or if you’re feeling sophisticated, also doubles up as a refreshing palate cleanser.
It’s super healthy because it uses yuzu which is known for its medicinal properties, is refined sugar free because it’s naturally sweetened, and it’s also vegan because it uses agar instead of gelatine.
Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit. It tastes slightly bitter like grapefruit, but has a sweet blossomy aroma more similar to oranges. It is widely used in Japanese cuisine, for savoury dressings and sauces, as well as being combined with honey to make yuzu tea, or used in alcoholic drinks such as the yuzu sour.
Its uses in Japan also go beyond the kitchen: on the winter solstice, people traditionally bathe in hot water with whole yuzu fruits floating on it. This strongly aromatic yuzu bath is said to prevent you from catching colds, moisturise the skin and relax the mind and body.
It’s almost impossible to get hold of fresh yuzu in the UK, but some supermarkets sell yuzu juice, which is a good substitute. I used this one from Waitrose, but you can also buy it from Asian supermarkets.
Agar is a natural jelly-like substance that comes from algae. It was first discovered in Japan in the 17th century, where it is known as kanten. It’s very healthy as it’s around 80% fibre. It’s used in many traditional Japanese desserts, such as anmitsu. You’ll be able to get hold of agar jelly in local health stores, Asian supermarkets, and hopefully your local supermarket too!
The ginger syrup adds a warming, spicy and slightly piquant edge to the heady aroma of the yuzu. It is completely optional though, as the yuzu agar jelly alone tastes delicious by itself too.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 1 teaspoon agar flakes (check the instructions on the packet as the amount needed tends to vary between brands)
- 2-3 tablespoons yuzu juice (or sub lemon juice), to taste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub agave syrup, or honey if not vegan)
- 1 teaspoon juice from freshly grated ginger (or sub 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sub agave syrup or honey if not vegan)
- 1 tablespoon yuzu juice
- Add agar flakes to a saucepan with the water, yuzu and maple syrup and bring to the boil (read the instructions on the agar packet carefully first as it can vary between brands)
- Pour into shallow rectangular-shaped container and refrigerate until set
- Make the syrup by heating all the ingredients in a pan until melted, and set aside to cool
- To serve, cut the jelly into small cubes once it’s set, place in bowls and and pour over the syrup – add fruit and fresh mint it you want!