Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to Make Aiyu Jelly

Aiyu jelly is made from the seeds of the aiyu fruit, which exude a gelling substance when immersed in water. It is a popular summertime item at the night markets in Taiwan, where it is served with honey and lime as a refreshing drink.

Most of the time the only way you can get aiyu stateside is pre-made in cans, which, while still delicious, contains none of the nuanced flavour of fresh jelly. If you are ever fortunate enough to get some seeds, you can easily make your own jelly with just water and a cotton sack, usually provided with the seeds.

aiyu seeds
cotton sack and string
water, 2500 cc for 1 heaping handful of seeds

! Important !
Make absolutely sure there is no oil residue on any of the materials you are using, this will cause the gel to fail.
Wash your hands very well, if you have sensitive skin wear food-safe gloves.
Do not add any sugar to the jelly before it sets
Do not use distilled water; normal drinking water will suffice.

1. Place the seeds in the cotton sack and tie it very securely shut.
2. Let the seeds soak in the water for 5 minutes.
3. Start to massage the sack. It will feel kind of like a gel stress-ball. Hold the end tightly shut while squeezing and massaging. A golden gel will be exuded.
4. Continue to massage the sack until no more of the gel is exuded -- it will start to feel grainy in your hand instead of soft and squishy. This takes about 10-20 minutes for 2500 cc of water.
5. Cover the jelly and place in the fridge for several hours to set.
6. Do not cut the jelly until you are going to serve, this reduces the amount of water that 'leaks' from the jelly as it sits. The jelly can be stored as is, or covered with honey-lime water (see recipe below).

Honey-Lime Water for Aiyu
Add more or less depending on your taste. I prefer it quite tart.

In a saucepan, combine:
3 cups water
1/4-1/3 cup honey
Juice of 2 limes

Heat and stir until honey is completely dissolved. Cool and store in the fridge.

Serve chilled with aiyu jelly.