The lovely Chandra of Lick the Spoon, who may love desserts just as much as me, is hosting this month’s Sugar High Friday #18: Liquor. I contemplated the vast array of things I could make that contained liquor, and when all was said and done, I decided to make a Midori liqueur kanten jelly. By the way, if you have never made Nigella’s gin and tonic jelly, I highly recommend it! Jelly after all is fun, simple and satisfying. Oh wait! So is liquor – mind you, in sensible doses. When I first came across Nobou Iwaseya’s recipe for Midori liqueur kanten jelly, I was floored by the mesmerizing image of fruit suspended in green jelly. Midori is a beautiful green-coloured liqueur made from melon by Suntory. It does not taste artificial or sickly sweet like some other liqueurs and has a wonderful light and subtle melon flavour. The Midori liqueur kanten jelly is a sexy show stopping dessert that is flavourful, refreshing and light.
midori liqueur kanten jelly:
2-3 figs, peeled
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 Tbsp water
125 ml Midori liqueur
1 kanten (agar-agar) stick (10 g.)
450 ml mineral water
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
12 seedless green grapes, peeled and halved
6 small strawberries
3-4 white marshmallows (optional)
1. First prepare the fruits. If using figs, mix the lemon juice and water in a small bowl, dip the peeled figs in it, and drain on paper towels. Cut crossways into 3 to 4 rounds depending on size.
2. Put the Midori liqueur in a small saucepan and heat over high heat for 2-3 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set to cool.
3. Soak the kanten (agar-agar) in plenty of water for 5 minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Break the kanten into small pieces, place in a saucepan with the mineral water, and cook on moderate heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has completely melted. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into another saucepan. Place the saucepan on a moderate heat, add the sugar to the kanten liquid and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. When it is about body temperature, mix the Midori liqueur. It will set quickly so do not leave for long.
4. Arrange the fruits, and marshmallows if using, artistically in a 560ml/1pint jelly (jello) mould or small clear glasses, and pour over the kanten and Midori mixture. All the fruits rise to the surface; so if you want to avoid this, use half the fruits and half the kanten mixture while warm, leave in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, and then arrange the remaining ingredients on top when the mixture is body temperature. Leave to set for 20 minutes. Kanten liquid sets very quickly so it needn’t be chilled. When set, remove from the mould and cut into 4 pieces. Arrange on individual plates and serve.
*Recipe adapted from Nobou Iwaseya, Masterclass in Japanese Cooking
Nobou Iwaseya, the chief chef for all Suntory restaurants abroad, shows how to make green jelly using kanten (agar-agar), a healthy, vegetarian alternative to animal gelatin. This vegetarian version sets quickly at a higher room temperature; so start cooking the kanten after all the other ingredients have been prepared. Midori, probably Suntory’s most renowned product outside Japan, is a liqueur made from melon.
You can of course use gelatin for this dessert if you are making it in individual dishes, but if you make one large jelly and cut it into four, kanten is a much better choice as it is easier to cut in straight lines. Midori is a strong liqueur; so boil to evaporate all alcohol content before use otherwise it won’t set properly. You can use any fruit or combination of two or three kinds in this beautiful green jelly.