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This easy recipe for Coconut Agar Jelly (Thach Dua) makes a wonderful summertime treat your entire family will love. Slightly crunchy agar jelly is infused with creamy coconut milk to make a refreshing chilled dessert. The jelly is silky, creamy and so cooling on a hot summer day. The recipe is as simple as it gets with just 5 ingredients. There are no complicated layers to make with this dessert. Just cook the jelly mixture in a saucepan and then pour into a large dish. Once the jelly sets, refrigerate until cold. To enjoy, simply cut into bite-sized pieces or bars. This Coconut Agar Jelly is so simple yet so satisfying. Enjoy!

Watch the video for instructions.

Jump to Recipe Card Notes on the Coconut Agar Jelly (Thach Dua) Recipe, Tips and Tricks
Agar agar comes from red algae, is plant-based and 100% vegetarian. Unlike the softer texture of gelatin, agar agar is a firmer jelly with a slightly crunchy texture. One of the unique properties of agar agar is that it turns solid at room temperature.
 
I use a whole packet of agar agar powder which is .88 oz (25 g). Bloom the agar agar powder by combining with room temperature water and letting rest for 15 minutes. You must bring the agar agar solution to a boil to activate the gelling properties. Also be sure to dissolve the agar agar powder completely otherwise the jelly will not set and be gritty. 
 
The sweetness level of this dessert is right in the middle. For a sweeter jelly, similar to what you’d find at a dessert shop, use 2 cups sugar. Use 1 cup sugar for a lightly sweet jelly.
 
For more festive treats, add your favorite food flavorings and colorings and use decorative molds, baking cups or any small bowls or cups to make single-serving sizes. In the video, I share some of my favorite flavors: Pandan, coffee, and ube. Continue reading below in Recipe Variations for more recipe notes.

 

Coconut Agar Jelly / Thach Dua

 

Coconut Agar Jelly / Thach Dua

This easy recipe for Coconut Agar Jelly (Thach Dua) makes a wonderful summertime treat your entire family will love. Slightly crunchy agar jelly is infused with creamy coconut milk to make a refreshing chilled dessert. The jelly is silky, creamy and so cooling on a hot summer day. The recipe is as simple as it gets with just 5 ingredients. There are no complicated layers to make with this dessert. Just cook the jelly mixture in a saucepan and then pour into a large dish. Once the jelly sets, refrigerate until cold. To enjoy, simply cut into bite-sized pieces or bars. This Coconut Agar Jelly is so simple yet so satisfying. Enjoy!

  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp agar agar powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and agar agar powder. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

  2. Over Medium heat, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the powder. When the mixture comes to a gentle boil, add the sugar and vanilla sugar. Combine together until dissolved. Reduce the heat to Low if the mixture is boiling too vigorously. Add the coconut milk and combine well. Skim off any foam and discard. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  3. Pour the hot jelly mixture into a large dish or individual cups and bowls. Skim off any bubbles from the top using a spoon. Let rest at room temperature until the jelly is firm, approximately 1-2 hours. Transfer the dish into the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.

  4. To remove the jelly, run a knife around the dish. Invert the dish and tap on the counter to loosen the jelly. Using a wavy knife, cut the Coconut Agar Jelly into bite-sized pieces.

  5. Refrigerate any remaining portions. Enjoy within the week.
  • Use a whole packet of agar agar powder which is .88 oz (25 g). Bloom the agar agar powder by combining with room temperature water and letting rest for 15 minutes. You must bring the agar agar solution to a boil to activate the gelling properties. Also be sure to dissolve the agar agar powder completely otherwise the jelly will not set and be gritty. Bloom the agar agar powder by combining with room temperature water and letting rest for 15 minutes. You must bring the agar agar solution to a boil to activate the gelling properties. Also be sure to dissolve the agar agar powder completely otherwise the jelly will not set and be gritty.
  • The sweetness level of this Coconut Agar Jelly is right in the middle. For a sweeter jelly, similar to what you’d find at a dessert shop, use 2 cups sugar. Use 1 cup sugar for a lightly sweet jelly.
  • For more festive treats, add your favorite food flavorings and colorings and use decorative molds, baking cups or any small bowls or cups to make single-serving sizes.
Nutrition Facts
Coconut Agar Jelly / Thach Dua
Amount Per Serving
Calories 77 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Potassium 43mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 11g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin C 0.5%
Calcium 0.7%
Iron 1.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Flavor Variations

Coconut and Pandan Agar Jelly: For every 1 cup hot jelly mixture, add 1-2 drops Pandan paste. Combine well and transfer into molds.

Coconut and Coffee Agar Jelly: For every 1 cup hot jelly mixture, add 1-2 tsp instant coffee, like Starbucks Via. Combine well and transfer into molds. For a fun and refreshing beverage, cut the jelly into small pieces and add to iced coffee or tea.

Coconut and Ube Agar Jelly: For every 1 cup hot jelly mixture, add 1-2 drops ube extract. Combine well and transfer into molds.

If you enjoy this Coconut Agar Jelly (Thach Dua) recipe, you may also like: Recipe Variations

Coconut and Pandan Agar Jelly

For every 1 cup hot jelly mixture, add 1-2 drops Pandan paste. Combine well and transfer into molds.

Coconut and Coffee Agar Jelly

For every 1 cup hot jelly mixture, add 1-2 tsp instant coffee, like Starbucks Via. Combine well and transfer into molds. For a fun and refreshing beverage, cut the jelly into small pieces and add to iced coffee or tea.

Coconut and Ube Agar Jelly

For every 1 cup hot jelly mixture, add 1-2 drops ube extract. Combine well and transfer into molds.

Piggy Agar Jelly

Enhance the Coconut Agar Jelly with your favorite food coloring to make fun and eye-catching desserts. I used Wilton's Gel Icing Color in Pink and a piggy mold to make the most adorable jellies. The kiddies would love these precious desserts!

Other Flavors

The next time I make this I’d like to try using chocolate and matcha. If you make this Coconut Agar Jelly recipe using other flavor variation, I’d love to hear about it!

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

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My garden is my happy place and I love spending my leisure time in the backyard. I find gardening so relaxing and therapeutic. It allows me to enjoy the beautiful outdoors while also connecting with awe-inspiring Mother Nature. In the early mornings and weekends, you’ll find me in my gardening talking to my plants while trimming and plucking away weeds and debris. Every few minutes, you’ll see energetic hummingbirds buzzing by, singing and drinking homemade nectar from the 3 feeders hanging throughout the yard. It truly is a magical place.

This summer I have a lot of planned travel, taking me away from home for weeks at a time. Even with a busy schedule, I didn’t want to forgo gardening. This year I selected a handful of easy-to-maintain and colorful plants to grow so my backyard is still verdant and inviting with minimal care. Nothing is sadder than seeing wilted foliage and plants upon returning home from a long trip.

In an earlier post, My Gardening Adventures – Summer 2018, I shared my very simple approach to gardening. It makes the activity a whole lot of fun and very manageable. The plants and herbs I’ve selected are easy to grow, don’t require a lot of dirt space and inexpensive to get started. Some of the plants are fast growers and you can actually see some of them get taller overnight. Pretty awesome!

Gardening Adventures: Flowers

I love colorful flowers and Nasturiums are at the top of my list. Nasturiums are one of the easiest plants to grow from seeds. Did you know that Nasturium flowers and leaves are edible? They have a peppery kick and are delicious in salads and fresh spring rolls and add beautiful pops of color. Also use the flowers to decorate rustic cakes like Orange Chiffon with Edible Flowers.

Three different varieties, Red Mahogany, Fiesta Blend, and Dwarf Jewel, grow in my garden. The seeds sprout and flourish quickly. Plant them in the ground or in planter boxes and pots.

Sunflowers make me happy when I look at them. The vibrant yellow flower looks like a face and the petals often look like hair. They always bring a smile to my face. I heard they were easy to grow but I had no idea! They are really easy to sprout from seeds and grow like weeds. I brought two seed varieties, Two Queens ($3.99) and Snacker (4.99), both purchased from Sprouts. I sprouted the seeds in early April and two of the plants are over 6 feet tall now. They grow to up to 8 feet tall.

Gardening Adventures: Herbs

A garden is not complete without some essential herbs. In my garden box are Sawtooth Herb and Thai Basil. Both herbs are essential for a classic dish we enjoy often in my house Pho Bo / Beef Noodle Soup.

Sawtooth herb is a rather interesting herb with jagged and prickly leaves. If you don’t know what it is, it looks like a weed and nothing you should eat.

This little plant was a gift from my Mom. She shipped it to me from Pennsylvania. Sawtooth herb can be difficult to grow especially when it’s younger and hasn’t taken root. I didn’t think it was going to make it through this last winter with all the heavy rain (very unusual for Southern California) but somehow the plant thrived.

Thai Basil is a staple herb in my garden. I love the licorice-like aroma and the pretty purple flowers. Not only is the herb delicious but it looks gorgeous displayed in a simple glass vase.

Need a refresher on Vietnamese herbs and which dishes they are used in? Check out this post: A Quick Guide to Vietnamese Herbs

Lemongrass is another wonderful and easy to grow herb. I sprouted the plants from lemongrass I bought at the grocery store. The process is really straightforward and if you’d like for me to share a post on how to do this, drop me a comment and let me know.

The lemongrass leaves are tall and grassy. The plant grows and multiples quickly. When planting the stalks, leave plenty of room for expansion.

Lemongrass is wonderfully fragrant herb and very popular in many Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Below are some of my favorites.

Elephant Ear (Bạc Hà) is a robust plant with broad leaves shaped like (you guessed it) an elephant’s ears. Depending on the variety, the plant can grow to 9 feet tall. My plant isn’t quite that tall but is growing quickly.

The edible part of the plant is the stalk. The stalks are moderately fibrous and spongy and used in soups like Sour Soup with Fish (Canh Chua Ca) where they add deliciously fresh and crunchy texture.

Elephant Ear plant may be a bit tougher to find. I purchased a starter plant from my local Vietnamese grocery store for $6.

Gardening Adventures: Citrus and Fruit 

Thanks to Anh who shared she has a dwarf lime tree growing in an old wine barrel in her backyard, I was inspired to give it a try as I adore the aroma of fresh limes. The plant I purchased is a Kieffer Semi-Dwarf Lime, $25 from Lowe’s. Below a picture of lime tree, freshly potted in March.

Just a few months later, the tree has thicker foliage and fruit now. I also planted Nasturiums to add vibrant color.

The limes grow in clusters and the tree has about six or so limes now. I haven’t picked any limes yet as they’re not quite big enough. I think another 2 weeks and they’ll be ready. The lime tree smells so fragrant and often, I just put my nose next to the leaves and buds and inhale the lovely sweet citrus aroma. The young leaves are edible. Just julienne them and add to soups, stir-fries and curries. Delish!

This strawberry plant is the cutiest! The berries are small, about the size of one’s thumb. I..

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This scrumptious recipe for Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings (Canh Ga Sot Ngot) is sure to become a favorite appetizer or side dish. Coated with a gooey sweet and savory sauce, these succulent wings are bursting with flavor! If you love the robust flavors of Asian-style wings, you’ll love this homemade marinade. Make these delicious Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings for your next party or get-together and watch everyone devour these finger-licking good treats. Enjoy!

Watch the video for instructions.

Jump to Recipe Card Notes on the Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings (Canh Ga Sot Ngot) Recipe, Tips and Tricks

This recipe is super easy and very easy to adjust to your flavor preference. If you like the sauce a bit sweeter, add 1-2 Tbsp agave nectar for a delicate sweetness. If you prefer more intense and salty flavors, add 1 Tbsp soy sauce or oyster sauce. It all works! Find plum sauce at any Asian grocery store. Hoisin sauce is the condiment you eat with pho. Mirin wine is a slightly sweet and tangy rice wine and complements chicken really well. You can substitute Mirin wine with your favorite cooking wine as well.

Use any brand of chicken wings available. A lot of times you can stock up during a sale at your grocery store. I love Kirkland’s organic chicken wings from Costco. They are sold in a three pack with each pack weighing about 2 pounds, so enough for one recipe.

Season the chicken with just garlic powder, salt and pepper. The robust flavors come from the homemade marinade. Marinate the chicken for as long as it takes you to prep the rest of the ingredients.

Pan fry the chicken wings in a large non-stick skillet. Flip and move the pieces around in the skillet for even cooking and browning. If using a smaller skillet, cook the chicken wings in two batches.

 These chicken wings are deliciously gooey and saucy! You can make extra sauce and serve it as a dipping sauce.

Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings / Canh Ga Sot Ngot

 

Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings / Canh Ga Sot Ngot

This scrumptious recipe for Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings / Canh Ga Sot Ngot is sure to become a favorite appetizer or side dish. Coated with a gooey sweet and savory sauce, these succulent wings are bursting with flavor! If you love the robust flavors of Asian-style wings, you'll love this homemade marinade. Make these delicious Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings for your next party or get-together and watch everyone devour these finger-licking good treats. Enjoy!

  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • 1 Tbsp salt (, for cleaning the chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup plum sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mirin wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Garnish:
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 lime
  • toasted sesame seeds
Preparing the Chicken
  1. Transfer the chicken wings into a large colander. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp salt. Rub the salt onto the chicken and then rinse well with cold water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and transfer into a large bowl.

  2. Add the garlic powder, salt and ground black pepper to the chicken wings and toss together. Set aside and continue with the next steps.
Preparing the Garnishes
  1. Chop the green onion stems. (Save the white onion root for another recipe.) Cut the lime into wedges. Set the chopped green onions and lime wedges aside for now.
Making the Sauce
  1. In a measuring cup, combine the plum sauce, Hoisin sauce, mirin wine, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Heat a large skillet over Medium heat. Add the chicken wings and cook on the first side for 8 minutes. Flip the pieces over and cook on the other side for another 8 minutes. For the last 3-4 minutes, increase the heat to Medium High and sear the chicken to a golden brown. (The total cooking time is 18-20 minutes.)
  3. In a large wok, add the sauce prepared earlier and bring to a boil over Medium High heat. Add the cooked chicken wings into the sauce. Combine together coating the chicken in the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Continue rotating the chicken during this time to layer the sauce. Remove from the heat.

Serving
  1. Transfer the Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings onto a large plate. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions. Add the lime wedges to the plate. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy the wings while warm!
  2. Refrigerate any remaining portions and enjoy within 3-4 days.
  • Season the chicken with just garlic powder, salt and pepper. The robust flavors come from the homemade marinade. Marinate the chicken for as long as it takes you to prep the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pan fry the chicken wings in a large non-stick skillet. Flip and move the pieces around in the skillet for even cooking and browning. If using a smaller skillet, cook the chicken wings in two batches.

Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings / Canh Ga Sot Ngot
Amount Per Serving
Calories 348 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 2279mg 95%
Potassium 288mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 4g
Protein 23g 46%
Vitamin A 5.5%
Vitamin C 8.3%
Calcium 2.8%
Iron 9.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you enjoy this Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings (Canh Ga Sot Ngot) recipe, you may also like: Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

 

The post Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings (Canh Ga Sot Ngot) appeared first on RunAwayRice.

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Cassava and Coconut Milk (Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua) is a scrumptious little snack and this Instant Pot recipe makes it a cinch to cook. Full of tantalizing tastes and textures, this dish features hearty cassava chunks cooked in creamy coconut milk and then served topped with shredded coconut and a sweet and salty nut medley. The cassava is deliciously mealy and the combination of starchy and crunchy textures is perfectly satisfying. I’ve loved this dish since childhood and whenever I crave a comfort dish that’s just a tad sweet, this is my go-to snack. I hope you give the recipe a try and share your comments with me. Enjoy!

Watch the video for instructions.

Jump to Recipe Card Notes on the Cassava and Coconut Milk (Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua) Recipe, Tips and Tricks

For convenience and to make the prep super fast, use frozen peeled cassava. The tough cassava skin is removed, the cassava is cleaned and vacuum-sealed in 1 lb packages. I like the Que Huong brand which is sold at most Vietnamese grocery stores and priced around $1.50 per package. You can also use fresh cassava for this recipe. It takes a bit more prep work to remove the skin and clean but fresh cassava works just as well.

Rinse the cassava with cold water. Optionally soak the cassava in cold water for 1 hour or more to remove the toxins.

Cutting the cassava into chunks helps it cook faster. It also gives more pieces for soaking up the creamy coconut milk.

Most people familiar with eating cassava avoid the fibrous spine. I like to remove the tough spine before serving the cassava. The best time to remove the spine is after cooking the cassava. Just pull on the stem to separate it from the tuber.

For the coconut topping, I love shredded young coconut and buy it frozen. To use, simply thaw, rinse with cold water and drain well to make a refreshing topping. If you don’t have young coconut, some good options are thick-cut dried coconut flakes (I buy this from Sprouts.) or sweetened coconut flakes, the kind used for baking.

Cassava and Coconut Milk / Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua

Cassava and Coconut Milk / Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua

Cassava and Coconut Milk / Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua is a scrumptious little snack and this Instant Pot recipe makes it a cinch to cook. Full of tantalizing tastes and textures, this dish features hearty cassava chunks cooked in creamy coconut milk and then served topped with shredded coconut and a sweet and salty nut medley. The cassava is deliciously mealy and the combination of starchy and crunchy textures is perfectly satisfying. I've loved this dish since childhood and whenever I crave a comfort dish that's just a tad sweet, this is my go-to snack. I hope you give the recipe a try and share your comments with me. Enjoy!

  • 1 lb frozen peeled cassava (, thawed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
Coconut Topping
  • 1 cup shredded young coconut (or 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes)
Sesame Peanut Topping
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Making the Sesame Peanut Topping
  1. Transfer the roasted peanuts into a small food processor. Pulse 3-4 times to chop the peanuts. Add the sugar, roasted sesame seeds and salt. Pulse 4-5 more times to combine the ingredients. Transfer into a small bowl and set aside for now.

Cooking the Cassava
  1. Transfer the thawed cassava into medium bowl. Rinse with cool water and then pat dry with a towel. Cut the cassava in half lengthwise and then cut into small chunks. Transfer the pieces into a steamer basket.

  2. Add 1 cup water into the inner pot of a 6 Quart Instant Pot. Transfer the steamer basket with cassava into the inner pot. Cover with the lid and set the handle to "Sealing". Set to pressure cook on High for 8 minutes.

  3. Manually release the pressure after the cook time is completed. Remove the steamer basket from the inner pot and set on the counter.
  4. Remove the fibrous spine by carefully plucking it from the center of each cassava chunk.
Making the Coconut Sauce
  1. Pour out the water in the inner pot.
  2. Press the “Sauté” button. Add the coconut milk, sugar and salt into the inner pot. Stir to combine the ingredients. When the coconut milk starts to boil, add the cooked cassava. Gently combine together coating the cassava in the coconut milk. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut milk thickens. Press the “Cancel” button to stop the Sauté mode.
Serving the Cassava and Coconut Milk
  1. Transfer to a large plate. Add shredded young coconut or dried coconut flakes over the cassava. Sprinkle with a generous amount of the sesame peanut topping. Enjoy while warm.
  2. Refrigerate any remaining portions and enjoy within 3-4 days.
  • Fresh cassava can be used. It takes a bit more prep work to remove the skin and clean but fresh cassava works just as well.
  • Cutting the cassava into chunks helps it cook faster. It also gives more pieces for soaking up the creamy coconut milk.
  • The best time to remove the spine is after cooking the cassava. Just pull on the stem to separate it from the tuber.
  • For the coconut topping, I love shredded young coconut and buy it frozen. To use, simply thaw, rinse with cold water and drain well to make a refreshing topping.
  • If you don’t have young coconut, some good options are thick-cut dried coconut flakes (I buy this from Sprouts.) or sweetened coconut flakes, the kind used for baking.

Nutrition Facts
Cassava and Coconut Milk / Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua
Amount Per Serving
Calories 408 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Sodium 209mg 9%
Potassium 522mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 58g 19%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 12g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 0.3%
Vitamin C 29.5%
Calcium 5.7%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you enjoy this Cassava and Coconut Milk (Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua) recipe, you may also like: Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

The post Cassava and Coconut Milk (Khoai Mi Nuoc Cot Dua) – Instant Pot Recipe appeared first on RunAwayRice.

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