So when I saw this month's IMBB theme, "Has my blog jelled?", hosted by Elise over at Simply Recipes, I knew exactly what I was going to make. Nothing like a cool, refreshing jello/jelly/kanten parfait treat on a hot summer day! Green tea kanten jello parfait!
"Kanten?", you might ask... Kanten is agar, and agar is a seaweed-based coagulant. And yes, biologists. We eat that stuff in Japan. (For non-biologists, we, in the lab, use agar as a solid surface to grow all kinds of bacteria. It's usually mixed with yeast extract, and the stuff smells B-A-D, especially after we've grown some funky E.coli on them...) Agar itself has very little smell and hardly any detectable taste, which is why it is so great to work with in the kitchen!
When I was back in Japan, I came home with some very nice high-quality kanten. Unlike the blocks one gets in the stores around here, my kanten was in fine threads. And it took a lot more work to prepare than the regular kanten, starting with a 8 hr soak in water!
Once the kanten (5 g) was ready, I cooked it in 1 cup of water over low heat for 15 min or so. I saw little chunks of kanten undissolved, and I probably should've followed the traditional method and strained it at this point, but I didn't. Oh well. It added an interesting texture to the final product!
While the kanten was simmering, I made extra strong green tea with my trusted cha-sen, a beater used ONLY for green tea. You see, it's all about specialization in Japanese utensils - a cup to measure rice and only rice, a beater to make tea and only tea... I combined 1 cup of the green tea with 1 cup of the kanten mixture, and let it solidify in the refrigerator for several hours.
Then, the fun part! Assembly!
Since I still have some wonderful wasambon hand-crafted artisan sugar, I knew my sweetener was going to be kinako-sugar powder. Kinako is to soy beans as cocoa powder is to cacao beans. Kinako is a delicate powder full of condensed soy bean taste with a tender nuttiness (as in nut-like, not crazy). With the wasambon sugar, the combination is an airy, heavenly sweetness, rarely found in any other treat.
I cubed the jello and layered kinako-sugar powder, and topped the parfait with soy milk ice cream to match the kinako soy theme. Ice cream is an obligatory component of any Japanese parfait, and voila! A home-made Wafuu (Japanese-style) Green Tea Parfait!
5 g kanten
1 cup water
2 tbs green tea powder
1 cup water
1/4 cup kinako
Soy milk ice cream
Yes, this is the same jello I made for my Kyoto-inspired dinner!
Here's a link to the round-up!