Vietnamese Cuisine, like many other Asian Cuisines, make jellied treats from agar-agar. When a particularly grand presentation is on the menu, they use intricate molds to create multicolored desserts that look like elaborately decorated Western cakes.
This simple almond jelly and fruit combo is a summertime favorite in my home. Originally prepared in China, the mildly sweet chunks of firm white jelly may be eaten alone, but they are more festive when accompanied with fruits. I use lychees and jackfruit, both of which are surprisingly good canned, along with fresh strawberries for contrast, but you may use any macerated or poached fruit you like.
Twenty-five-gram packets of agar-agar powder (bột rau câu, or seaweed powder) are sold at Chinese and Southeast Asian markets. If the powder is not shelved with the agar-agar sticks or strands, ask for it; it is sometimes kept at the cash registers. Telephone brand from Thailand is popular. If you cannot find agar-agar, use unflavored gelatin.
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