Almond Jelly with Lychees, Jackfruit and Strawberries (Thach Hanh Nhan Recipe)

  • Preparation: 30 mins
  • Cooking: 20 mins
  • Skill level: Medium
  • Servings: 6 - 8

Description Almond Jelly with Lychees, Jackfruit and Strawberries Recipe (Thạch Hạnh Nhân)

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.


  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon agar-agar powder, or 2½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 can (20 ounces) jackfruit
  • 1 can (20 ounces) lychees
  • 2 cups ripe strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise if small or quartered lengthwise if large

Method Almond Jelly with Lychees, Jackfruit and Strawberries Recipe (Thạch Hạnh Nhân)

1, Put the water in a saucepan, sprinkle the agar-agar (or gelatin) onto the surface, and stir to mix well. If using agar-agar, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the agar-agar dissolves. If using gelatin, heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the sugar, condensed milk, and almond extract, and stir until the sugar dissolves.
2, Pour into an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan or shallow dish; the jelly should fill to a depth of ½ to ¾ inch. Push any surface bubbles to the side, so they won’t mar the top. Let stand for about 1 hour, or until cooled completely and set. If you are using gelatin, let it cool for 15 minutes and then refrigerate for about 3 hours, or until well chilled and firm. (The jelly may be prepared up to 2 days in advance, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated until serving.)
3, About 1 hour before serving, drain the jackfruit in a sieve placed over a serving bowl. Cut the jackfruit into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl with the syrup. Add the lychees, with all their syrup, and the strawberries to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate to chill until serving.
4, Just before serving, cut the jelly into 1-inch squares or diamonds and add them to the fruit bowl. To serve, spoon the mixture into individual dessert bowls. Include as much syrup with each serving as you like.

Chef's Note

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