Coconut, Red bean and Matcha Agar Agar

>> Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let's talk healthy (or heathier) today.


So you've just had dinner...and it is now time of the night when you scour the kitchen for desserts. So what do you find? Ice-cream, chocolate (with sea-salt!), or cakes? No? C'mon, I can't be the only one!

Ever since my recent over-indulgence in Japan, I've been thinking a lot about low fat desserts. Is that even possible?!


Then I magically found agar agar (kanten in Japanese) in my pantry.

You know what's so lovely about this stuff?

It is made of approximately 80% fibre and as you digest, it increases in volume in your stomach by absorbing the water...which means, you'll be fuller quicker than ever!

Oh and you know what else I love about it? Unlike your usual gelatin, it is all-vegetable (extracted from seaweed) and completely odourless! Thank goodness. Is it just me or does gelatin smell really bad when you boil it?

Many sites I have came across boast that agar agar is completely fat-free, has 0 calories and 0 sugar and carbs. While I don't know how accurate these sources are, I'd say it has been a great replacement to my usual ice-cream lately!

I have tested with one of my favourite food combinations...


Matcha and red beans with coconut....in 2 different versions.

Oy, isn't variety the spice of life?

This is probably the easiest dessert recipe you'll ever find. All you need to know is...

...for every 1 cup of liquid, add 1/2 tsp of agar powder. Really. That's all. The rest, taste as you go along.

Coconut, Red bean and Matcha Agar Agar - Version #1

Coconut layer
  • I tbsp demerara sugar (depending on how you like it)
  • 1 cup low-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp agar agar

Red Bean layer

  • 1 tblsp demerara sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup (or more depending on preference) cooked red bean (boil in water for 45 mins)
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder

Matcha layer

  • 1-2 tsp matcha powder
  • 2 tblsp condensed milk (ok, this isn't healthy stuff I know)
  • 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1 cup low-fat milk

1. Pour the coconut milk and water into a saucepan and add the agar agar powder. Let rest for 10 minutes.


2. Add in the sugar and bring the liquid to boil.


3. Once sugar has dissolved, pour the liquid into your preferred container. It should set within 20 minutes.


4. Pour on another layes once the previous layer is about to set. Then refrigerate for 2 hours.




Follow the above methods for the other layers...

Note: with the red bean layer, before you pour the red bean onto the coconut layer, maybe sure you pour a small layer of the liquid first then wait for a few minutes before placing the beans and pouring the rest of the liquid over it. This will ensure that the layers stick together better.

Coconut, Red bean and Matcha Agar Agar - Version #2

This version uses exactly the same ingredients as the above step minus the 2 cups of water with the red beans. I just combined the coconut water with the red beans and omitted one layer.

I also used a different type of green tea (you can obviously see the beautiful vibrant green in this second version. Make sure you use fresh and good quality green tea (matcha) powder. It makes a whole lot of difference. The one I used in the first version was about to expire!


I've now a list of other flavour combinations that I can't wait to try.

Imagine lycee with rasperberries... rosewater with pomegranates...

Go on, give agar agar a chance....

31 comments:

chocolatesuze August 26, 2010 at 4:08 PM  

that is so freaking pretty! love your presentation!

Charmian August 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

This is fantastic!!! I love any recipe that really tries to experiment with beautiful Japanese redbean/maccha flavours!!

Debs August 27, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

Oh yes, this I have to try. We love japanese food.

I have the matcha powder, now all I need to find is agar agar, not an easy feat in Spain. I'll have to go online for a supplier.

Yay, beautiful dessert here I come.

Anh August 27, 2010 at 4:01 PM  

So pretty! And delicious, too :)

Julie August 27, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

dearest Viv!
Julie is loving your photos, I am so impressed *tears*. First picture = magazine picture!

agar agar <3 love

Helen (Grab Your Fork) August 29, 2010 at 1:29 PM  

So pretty! Love the opening shot which is so elegant. Matcha and red bean are such a winning combination, but I'm all over that coconut jelly!

Von August 29, 2010 at 6:31 PM  

They look so pretty! I love all the flavours in this- I'm sure I'd love this dessert =D And it's so easy too! I think I'll have to try this one day....I've never used agar agar though- I'll have to buy some one day!

The second one looks like the jelly things they sell at Asian supermarkets- only I think the green part in those ones are pandan flavoured....

sugarpuffi August 31, 2010 at 1:53 PM  

viv ur work always look so yummy! and i see that uve been having fun with ur new dslr :p

now u made me crave agar agar. i shall run down to the asian grocery and get some right now.

Blessed Homemaker September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM  

Love the colours! I hope I have time to make this one day.

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry September 6, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

Before your post I didn't know what agar agar or matcha powder were. Now that I do, there is a whole new desert world for me to explore. What a beautiful shade of green! Thanks.

Thuy September 7, 2010 at 6:34 AM  

How did you get the coconut layer to be so even? When I've tried it before, the fatty white part would rise to the top, leaving a clearer layer underneath it

Vivienne September 7, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

Thanks all for your comments :)

Thuy: Did you use coconut milk (instead of cream?) I used Light coconut milk + 1 cup of water so it's very diluted thus no separation of layers. Or it maybe the different brand of the coconut milk?

ameanderingmango February 13, 2011 at 2:10 PM  

Wow- this looks fantastic! I've just been looking over some of your recipes and pictures - simply lovely.

I will have to try making this at home sometime. I usually buy these type of Japanese desserts from local stores but homemade seems to work out too. Thanks!

Tanvi February 28, 2011 at 5:25 AM  

Hey Viv,
Stumbled upon your blog while looking for coconut pudding.You have one lovely blog with gorgeous pictures.I m really keen on making this pudding coz I adore matcha.Thanks for sharing.Will be back soon.

Vivienne February 28, 2011 at 1:04 PM  

thanks tanvi for visiting :) agar agar is quite different texture to a pudding so hope you enjoy it!

Yi @ YiReservation April 18, 2011 at 1:48 AM  

Wow, we love greentea a lot too. which brand of green tea powder did you use for the second version of this recipe? thanks!

Vivienne April 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM  

hey Yi, I bought the matcha powder in Japan but I can't remember the brand anymore (it's expired so I chucked it away) arghh. I tried looking for it online but can't find it ...i rem the name was in japanese (which i don't read lol). i think you get what you pay for with green tea (the more expensive, the better quality/the powder has a deeper/more vibrant green colour).

obesebaby July 28, 2011 at 5:06 PM  

I really like your dessert and the creativity. I love green tea & red bean I think they are haven made match. thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous,  January 31, 2012 at 11:46 AM  

what size pan did you use for the dessert?

Viv February 1, 2012 at 9:51 PM  

something like 20cm by 20cm baking dish?!

Anonymous,  February 10, 2012 at 10:39 AM  

Many thanks for sharing your recipe with us. =)

Emil July 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM  

Hi, I found your blog on pinterest and this is the second post now I am reading. I love this wonderful creativity, this recipe looks so beautiful (without an "imperfect crack" ;-))!

Lisa Choo May 8, 2013 at 11:15 PM  

Hi your dessert looks amazing, can you please tell e which agar agar powder you use? If you can tell me te brand or picture woud e even better? I wonder if ts Asian agar or gelatin powder from supermarket?
Thanks.

Viv May 10, 2013 at 11:00 AM  

Hi Lisa,
I can't recall which brand of agar agar I bought, but it was from the health food store here in Australia. Think was made in Japan. Hope this helps.

Anonymous,  October 1, 2013 at 8:10 PM  

Does 1 cup equals to 250ml ?

kim October 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM  

Agar agar is not gelatin. Agar agar is made from seaweed, and gelatin is made from animals.

Anonymous,  December 4, 2013 at 10:35 PM  

i love your recipe! was wondering whether you could help me solve my agar agar woes ... when i leave my agar in the fridge for more than an hour condensation starts to collect around the agar. i have no idea how to stop this from happening ... and am unsure whether it is good/bad.

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