Coconut kanten might be an acquired taste… my husband doesn’t care for it, but I love it! I turn to this dessert confection when I get a sweet craving.
Kanten, also known as agar agar, is extracted from seaweed. Often used as a gelling agent in Japanese and other Asian desserts, I grew up with kanten in such desserts as anmitsu. Low in calories and high in fiber, agar agar is a healthy gelling agent — and I recently started using agar agar with coconut milk to make coconut jelly cubes.
Agar agar often can be found in long strips. I found agar agar flakes instead, which I think are easier to use. The texture of this coconut kanten is harder than your typically jelly. While I love the texture, David finds it a little weird. (More for me, then!)
It’s super easy to make coconut kanten. I also make a simple berry compote sweetened with Stevia, which goes nicely on top. I can eat coconut kanten cubes just as they are — they have become my go-to snacks.
Here’s how I make it:
In a large (4 cup) measuring cup, pour out 1 can of organic coconut milk and add water until the coconut milk/water mixture measures 4 cups. (**We use Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk, as it does not contain BPA — Chris Kresser recommends Native Forest in his article about coconut milk, which can be found HERE.) Pour out the mixture into a saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons of agar agar flakes, 4 packets of Stevia, and 2 teaspoons of almond extract. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking, making sure all the agar agar flakes dissolve.
Pour into a container — I use a large glass tupper-ware. Let it cool, and then put in the refrigerator.
Once chilled and gelled, you can cut the coconut kanten in little cubes and eat them as they are, or topped with some fruit compote. Delicious!
For the berry compote, I like to use a bag of frozen organic raspberries and a bag of frozen organic wild blueberries. Put the berries in a saucepan, add the juice of one organic lemon, 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon, 3 packets of Stevia, and heat it on medium heat.
The berries will release a lot of juice. Let the berries simmer until the juice cooks down and reduces a little bit. The compote keeps well in a glass tupper-ware.
**UPDATE: My husband is now a convert and loves these coconut kanten cubes! He now asks me to make them for him… less for me, but healthy seaweed derived dessert for us both! 🙂