Hot Ai Yu Jelly
For a Taiwanese person, what could be more familiar than the golden child of summer desserts: AI Yu Jelly 愛玉, served with sugar syrup in an icy bath of green Taiwanese lemons? Betcha didn’t know it can also be served hot, simmered in black tea, doused with creamer and black sugar syrup. In fact, serving it warm is one of the hallmarks of real Ai Yu, which is made by rinsing the seeds of the Ai Yu Jelly Fig. The seeds readily shed their pectin, which sets into a jelly when minerals are present in the water. The canned and powdered forms melt with heat because they generally contain carageenan or agar-agar as stabilizers, but the fresh stuff holds up.
Amber colored Ai Yu Jelly with specks of natural reddish fiber (that’s how you know its real) is gently simmered in tea and served lightly sweetened with black sugar syrup and drizzled with milk or cream. You can dress it up with ingredients like boba, Job’s tears, goji berries or jujube if you like.
Hot Ai Yu Jelly
Prep Time: 10 minutes active, plus two hours setting time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
IngredientsFor the Ai Yu Jelly:
20g Ai Yu seeds 6 cups hard or mineral water, chilled (we recommend Fiji Water) 8 oolong tea bags, adjust according to preferred strength of tea taste 5 cups of water 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup water Coffee creamer, optional
Prepare the Ai Yu Jelly according to our instructions here. We set the Ai Yu in extra large 2.25” ice cube trays (makes about 8 ice cubes with some leftover). You can use regular ice cube molds or anything else you have on hand. Let sit for a couple of hours until set. In a saucepan, add in 5 cups of water and the tea bags. Gently drain the Ai Yu from the molds and slide into the pot. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. It should only be very slightly bubbling. While the Ai Yu is gently simmering, make the syrup. Pour the brown sugar and 1/3 cup of water into a saucepan. Melt the sugar over a very low fire for approximately three minutes, swirling the pot to prevent sticking and burning. The syrup is done once there is no visible sugar particles. Set aside to cool. Once the Ai Yu has simmered for 10 minutes, turn off the fire and let steep for another 5.
Gently remove the Ai Yu from the pot with a wooden spoon and portion into bowls. Discard the tea bags and pour the tea over the Ai Yu. Drizzle with syrup and adjust sweetness as needed. Drizzle with a bit of creamer, if you're using it, and add any of your favorite Asian dessert toppings.
Recipe by: Cat Yeh
Image Credit: Off Hour Studio