Updated: Sep 29, 2021
Serving a chilled dish of kanten in Japan is a true sign that summer has arrived - when the mercury is into the thirties and the cicadas outside are in full song, there's nothing like a little bowl of chilled kanten and fruit to give you that, "ah...i needed that.." feeling.
If you haven't heard of kanten, it's a seaweed based gel that is derived from red seaweeds. You could be forgiven for concluding that kanten is in fact, agar agar, but the two are a little bit different. Like kanten, agar agar is derived from seaweed, but the type of seaweed used to produce agar agar is different - so, kanten and agar are close cousins but they aren't identical.
If you made a jelly from agar agar, you would immediately notice that the jelly made with agar agar was softer and more wobbly. On the other hand, the kanten jelly would be quite firm and break up rather than dissolve in the mouth when eaten. Agar agar was developed as a substitute for animal based gelatin while kanten was originally produced in Japan to make soft noodles.
Like agar agar, kanten is plant based so it is perfect for vegetarian or vegan desserts. Kanten is also high in fibre but contains next to no calories. You should be able to buy kanten online or from an Asian food store. The handiest way to buy it is in little sachets like the ones on the right. The sky is the limit when it comes to how to prepare kanten - the recipe I'm showing you here is for kanten with some summer berries. I used a tupperware as a mould but there are lots of other ways you can play around and be inventive!
If you'd like to try this recipe, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Berry fruit Kanten or just scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Stay cool! Kurumi XXXX.
If you would like to see another kanten based dessert, why not take a look at my Two Layer Fruit Kanten?
Berry fruit Kanten
(makes 4 servings)
70g red grapes
1 tsp kanten powder
2 tbsp sugar
0.5 tsp kanten powder
50ml cranberry juice
0.5 tbsp sugar
1 pyrex or tupperware with at least 700ml capacity
wash all the fruit
remove the heads of the strawberries and cut into quarters
place the strawberries, grapes & blueberries in your pyrex or tupperware
put 200ml water & 1 tsp kanten powder in a pan, bring to the boil over a medium heat while stirring, then add the sugar and stir for another 30 seconds
set aside until it firms
put 50ml water, 50ml cranberry juice & 0.5 tsp kanten powder in a pan
bring to the boil while stirring over a medium heat, then add 0.5tbsp sugar and stir for another 30 secs
rest the liquid for 3 mins before pouring over the first kanten layer
when cooled, refridgerate until set
when you are ready to serve, loosen the sides of the kanten with a knife, then invert onto a plate and cut into portions
serve with more fruit and icecream