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the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
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Chahuoy Ktih

Agar-agar Jelly

phoca thumb l dessert - coconut panna cotta  pomegranate 2

This dessert is Suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets as well as for those who wish to avoid dairy products and/or gelatine.

It is very popular in Southeast Asia because of its  refreshing taste and very light texture. I like to make this dessert for my dinner parties. Not only that it is quick and simple to prepare, but it is also very convenient. It can be cooked the day before - which could help taking some of the stress away.

 ingredient - agar agar powder - thai
Agar-Agar Powder
Telephone brand

ingredient - Agar-agar Pearl Mermaid brand

Agar-agar Powder
Pearl Mermaid Brand

ingredient - agar agar powder - thumbnail

Agar-Agar Powder

 ingredient - agar agar - lakeland brand
(European brand)

Did you know …

Agar-Agar, which is sometimes referred to as kanten, is a gelling agent coming from a South East Asian seaweed. It is used for many purposes including as a clarifying agent in brewing, as a laxative (it’s 80-percent fibre) and as an appetite suppressant.

In addtion, it’s an amazingly versatile food ingredient. It’s a vegetarian/vegan gelatine substitute, and a thickener for soups, in fruits preserves, ice cream and others desserts. It has no taste, no odour and no colour, which makes it very convenient to use. Though less creamy, it sets more firmly than gelatine, and stays firm even when the temperature heats up.

Jelly Moulds for Chahuoy Ktih - med sizeDariol Mould, Ramekin
Silicone, Metal & Plastic Moulds










Serves: 4


Coconut milk 1 tin x 400 ml/13.5 fl oz – I use Pride or Aroy-D brands which contain at least 60% coconut and have a good white colour. But, if you're not fussy, any brand will do. (Note: do not shake the tin. The top-half of the tin contains cream which is thicker than the milk in the bottom-half) 
Milk or water 200 ml/ 6½ fl oz
white sugar
cup/65g – preferably caster/ superfine
vanilla extract 1 tsp
1 pinch
agar-agar powder1
¾ tsp -available in health food shops, Asian grocery stores, some supermarkets and online (Note: : be as precise with the measurement as possible). I use Telephone or Pearl Mermaid brands2
White rum 2 Tbsp – optional (if not using, replace with 2 Tbsp of milk/water)

For coconut sauce:
Coconut cream
1 cup
Rice flouror corn flour 2 tsp
White sugar 2 Tbsp - preferably caster/superfine
Salt 1 pinch

Pomegranate seeds & coulis (see link below for recipes)


1 - Skim off 1 cup of top coconut cream from the tin and set aside for later use.

2 - In a medium saucepan combine the rest of the coconut cream, sugar, vanilla extract, milk/water, and salt. Sprinkle the agar-agar over the mixture and stir. Leave to stand for 5 minutes for the agar-agar to soften/bloom. Then, over medium heat, bring to the boil, and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves (do not go away. Watch it like a hawk so it doesn’t boil over). Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes, or until the agar-agar has completely dissolved. Stir regularly to prevent it sticking.

3 - Remove from heat. Stir in the reserved cup of coconut cream and the rum, if using, and whisk until thoroughly mixed.

4 - Use a fine sieve to strain the mixture into a jug and immediately pour into 4 individual ramekins/dariol moulds or decorative glasses of your choice. Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate until set (it can set quite quickly, but allow 1 hour to thoroughly chill).

5 - Meanwhile, to make the coconut sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan. Over medium high heat, bring to the boil while stirring constantly. Reduce to simmer, and keep stirring until the mixture thickens2. Remove from heat, cover and set aside. Allow to cool completely before using.

6 - To serve, pour about 2 tablespoons of coconut sauce on to the serving plate. Then use your finger to gently press the jelly edges downwards to releave them from the side of the mould. Turn up-side-down over the serving plate. Insert the tip of a table knife along one side of the mould and slightly press the knife towards the centre of the jelly to help ease it out. Top with 1 tablespoon of pomegranate coulis (see recipe) – and garnish with pomegranate seeds (see link).


1If agar-agar is not available, you can use powdered gelatine instead but by quadrupling the measure - i.e. ¾ tsp of agar-agar powder or 3 tsp for powdered gelatine. You will need to use about 5-6 tablespoons of the 200ml of milk/water stated in the ingredient list above to soak the gelatine. Remember that you cannot boil the gelatine. The soaked gelatine should be added into the mixture at Step 3 before adding the coconut cream and the rum.

2 If the Telephone/Pearl Mermaid brands are not available, you can use the Serbuk brand (photo above) but double the amount called for in this recipe. Use 1½ teaspoons instead of ¾ teaspoons for this recipe.

3 If it is a bit too thick, add a few teaspoons of water or milk.

Health Benefits
Loaded with fibre, Agar-agar has no calories, no carbs, no sugar, and no fat. It’s free from starch, soy, corn, gluten, yeast, wheat, milk, egg and preservatives. It absorbs glucose in the stomach, passes through the digestive system quickly and inhibits the body from retaining and storing excess fat. Its water absorbing properties also aids in waste elimination. Agar-agar absorbs bile, and by doing so, causes the body to dissolve more cholesterol. (Source: internet)