Feedback
Wellness 1 minute 01 March 2019

Making Jellies: Dig Into Kanten, Konjac And Aiyu

Jelly is often dismissed as junk food, but there are some guilt-free variations of the bouncy dessert.

wellness summer dessert

Jelly has the sweltering weather to thank for its popularity. No one can deny a cup of jelly coming right out of the fridge on a hot afternoon, no matter how old they are.

However, choose wisely as some versions are comparatively healthier than others. These jelly and pudding products contain a mix of gelatine, citric acid, carrageenan, xanthan gum and artificial flavourings that are often labelled as junk food. These ingredients lack health benefits and hinder our body’s absorption of nutrients.

For instance, gelatine is a substance extracted from fish, pig skin and cow’s bones, while carrageenan could add burden to our digestive system. A number of the so-called fruit jellies available in the market are known for using refined sugar and artificial flavourings to imitate the taste of real fruits. Thankfully, there are some plant-based alternatives such as kanten, aiyu and konjac, which make for guilt-free snacking.
 A simple combination of kanten and black sugar syrup does a good job in beating the heat.
A simple combination of kanten and black sugar syrup does a good job in beating the heat.

Kanten

Kanten is a kind of agar extracted from seaweed. It gels effectively and has lots of dietary fibre which curbs the feeling of hunger. Combined with its very low calorie content, it’s a darling for those who are trying to lose weight. In addition, kanten boasts the benefits of stabilising blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol levels, protecting the cardiovascular system and facilitating bowel movements. The gel is used extensively in Japanese wagashi, producing popular desserts such as mango kanten jelly, plum and matcha kanten jelly, azuki bean and milk kanten jelly.

Rich in soluble fibre and containing a small amount of vitamins, konjac is a decent choice for those on a diet.
Rich in soluble fibre and containing a small amount of vitamins, konjac is a decent choice for those on a diet.

Konjac

Konjac comes from an edible tuber, which is sliced, ground into powder and mixed with water — its water content is higher than 90%. It contains a great amount of soluble fibre and some vitamins, which is helpful to digestion. Not only is konjac low in calories, it also imparts a feeling of fullness and is therefore adored by those on diet. It has the extra advantages of controlling blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Beware that konjac is colourless and tasteless in its original form. It is recommended to avoid products with sugar and artificial colouring added to them.

A night market staple in Taiwan, aiyu jelly is often embellished with lemons.
A night market staple in Taiwan, aiyu jelly is often embellished with lemons.

Aiyu

Aiyu is a plant exclusively grown in Taiwan. According to classical literature in traditional Chinese medicine, pure pectin from aiyu helps to resist aging, improves skin conditions and nurtures the throat. This pectin is a form of soluble dietary fibre, which gives off the feeling of satiety and decreases cholesterol levels. Pectin enzyme, another primary constituent of aiyu, promotes intestinal movement and healthy bowels.

Similar to konjac, aiyu is an ideal dieting food, since it has very few calories and consists of over 90% water. The preparation method is also important to get the most out of it. Some aiyu dessert recipes negate its slimming potential with the use of sugar. A healthy dose of honey and lemon is sufficient to turn it into a delicious treat.


This article was written by Joe Chan and translated by Vincent Leung. Click here to read the original version of this story.

Wellness

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to get news and updates about the MICHELIN Guide
Subscribe
Follow the MICHELIN Guide on social media for updates and behind-the-scenes information