It is surprising to realize that I seldom made agar-agar jelly! Nowadays I get to eat agar-agar jelly only once or twice a year during Christmas or Chinese New Year family get-together when one or two of my aunties would made them for the festive seasons.
Well, so I thought it is about time to do a post on agar-agar jelly. Anyway, I have been trying to collect Nyonya recipes from the Dapur Nyonya TV cooking programme from Malaysia. Recently, the second series of the show has just been broadcast and I have been keeping an eye out for the recipes on their Facebook. And of course, don’t you know it, they are so very, very slow in uploading the recipes. I think they have already aired up to episode 10 (and episode 9 is a mystery to me at the moment as they did not even post any photos from that episode), and so far only 3 recipes were posted from the first three episodes! And I have been waiting patiently for the Jeli Marmar recipe from episode 7 for a couple of weeks now and still no sign of it. The recipe intrigues me because I am familiar with the layered agar-agar jelly (and knew the process of making it), but not the marbled version, and I was wondering how they can get the jelly to marble without the two colours merging together and becoming blurry.
Anyway I got tired of waiting so I googled for the recipe. I found quite a number of recipes but they all seemed to come from websites in Indonesia (that’s why the spelling for marmar in Malay becomes marmer with an e in Indonesian)! They all have eggs in them! So that’s the secret! The egg whites are beaten until stiff and the agar-agar jelly liquid added in, so the two coloured mixtures are denser and able to hold together without merging into one. I tried it and here it is, and very delicious too! But I will have to wait and see if the Jeli Marmar recipe from Dapur Nyonya is similar or not, that is, until they decide to release that recipe as I am not able to watch the show oversea! Or indeed those of you in Malaysia who had watched the episode and can give me an indication of that recipe…
Makes one 18cm square pudding
7g agar-agar powder *
375ml-tin evaporated milk
1/2 cup (125ml) water
1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon strawberry paste
* I used 1 packet of plain Swallow Globe Brand agar-agar powder made in Indonesia which is 7g/packet and already flavoured with vanilla.
1. Separate the eggs; putting the yolks in one heatproof mixing bowl and the whites in another heatproof mixing bowl. Rinse an 18cm (or 20cm) square baking tin; do not dry.
2. In a saucepan, combine agar-agar powder, milk, water, sugar and salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
3. Break the egg yolks and start whisking. At the same time pour the hot agar-agar mixture slowly into the yolks and continue whisking. When all the agar-agar mixture has mixed in, pour the whole lot back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat until it comes back to a boil, again keep whisking; this will take about 1 minute. Keep on lowest heat while you start to beat the egg whites (try to do this as quickly as you can).
4. With clean whisk, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks formed. Continue to whisk and at the same time, pour the hot agar-agar mixture slowly into the whites. After all the agar-agar mixture has been whisked in, pour half (or 2/3) of the pudding mixture into the rinsed tin.
5. Add strawberry paste to the remaining mixture and mix well. Then pour the strawberry pudding mixture in a zigzag fashion into the tin with the uncoloured pudding mixture. Use a chopstick or a knife to swirl through the mixture a couple of times to create a marbling effect. Leave to cool then chill in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.
Taste: Soft, fluffy, slightly custardy-aftertaste jelly pudding
Consume: Best within 2-3 days
Storage: Keep covered and chilled in the refrigerator
Recipe Reference(s): Puding Marmer Mocca and Puding Marmer Cokelat