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A stack of green jelly squares.
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Agar Agar Jelly with Coconut - Laotian Vun

This traditional Agar Agar Jelly from Laos is delicately sweet and flavoured with coconut and pandan essence. Made with agar agar powder instead of gelatin, it's naturally vegetarian friendly and even sets on the bench rather than in the fridge! Slice into squares for a delicious dessert or portable snack.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Lao
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 20 squares
Calories 101kcal
Cost $5

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Start by pouring half your coconut milk into a small mixing bowl. Crack in the egg and give it a really good whisk to incorporate.
    400 ml coconut milk, 1 egg
  • Meanwhile heat the water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the agar agar and give it a swirl to mix through and dissolve. Slowly pour in the coconut milk and egg mixture and stir. Gently bring to the boil and keep stirring. Then slowly add your remaining coconut milk.
    1 l water, 14 g agar agar, 400 ml coconut milk
  • Next, add in the sugar, salt and pandan essence (optional). Taste the mixture, but be careful not to burn your tongue! If it's not sweet enough, you can add more sugar, or an extra sprinkle of salt or pandan essence til you're happy with the flavour.
    150 g sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pandan flavouring
  • Cook and stir for a few more minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Pour the mixture out into a large glass dish (or jelly moulds, if using). Skim any bubbles off the surface so your jelly will set nice and smooth. Allow the jelly cool on your kitchen bench for an hour or so (check out those layers forming!).
  • Once set, cut the jelly into shapes and serve.

Notes

  • Agar Agar Powder - Look for it in Asian grocers or online. You can substitute using the same amount of regular jelly/jello powder or powdered gelatin if required – just follow the cooking directions on the packet to make. If using agar agar flakes instead of powder, use the conversion ratio of 1 tsp powder to 1 tbsp flakes. Remember, you'll need to set the jelly in the fridge as it won't set at room temperature. 
  • Egg - Leave out the egg to make this as vegetarian jelly, it will still set perfectly.
  • Setting the Jelly - Make sure the agar agar flakes or power are completely dissolved before adding in the coconut and egg mixture. Avoid citrus-based flavourings or juices such as lemon, lime or pineapple, which are known to prevent the jelly from setting. 
  • Coconut Milk - We use canned coconut milk with at least 60% coconut extract. Avoid sweetened coconut milk, just use regular plain coconut milk so you are always in control of the sweetness.
  • Pandan Flavouring - We use the popular pasta pandan flavouring. It stores well, and is easy to find at Asian supermarkets or online. It’s a surprisingly versatile little ingredient which you can use for other sweet Asian treats like Klepon (Coconut Rice Cakes) and Dadar Gulung (Rolled Pancakes), or even savoury dishes like Thai Pandan Chicken. If you don't have any pandan flavouring on hand, you can substitute with regular vanilla essence. 
  • Up the Intensity - Add more sugar or salt for extra deliciousness.
  • Tweak the Flavour - Add a few drops of essence such as vanilla or rose water, coffee, or food dyes for bright colours.
  • Get Creative - Use cookie cutters or silicone jelly moulds for cute shapes like stars or flowers.
  • Make it a Full Dessert - Serve with fresh or canned fruit, fruit pulp or syrup, whipped cream, coconut cream or ice cream for extra deliciousness. Or why not slice it up into super thin strips and use in Chè Ba Màu – Vietnamese Three Colour Dessert!

Nutrition

Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.6mg