There are a handful of Japanese desserts that I never liked as a child but am finding myself quite fond of now, as an adult. Funny how tastes change over time. One such dessert is kanten, which I hear is a bit of a fad diet in certain areas of the world because it grows considerably in size once ingested, giving the sensation of being full faster. Kanten is agar (algae-based) and I get in powdered form in a sachet. All you do mix the powder with water and bring to a boil. Pour it into a dish and allow to cool and set; leaving it out at room temperature is usually best because if it is placed in the fridge, I find that it gets more watery. It takes about 2-3 hours to set at room temperature, after which you can just scoop or cut it up into squares and serve. Kanten has the texture similar to Jell-O, but with a bit more structure.
You can flavour the kanten with items such as coffee, condensed milk, or sugar; these would all be added during the preparation phase. You just need to be careful that you don’t add things that will hamper the ability of the agar to set properly. I like making plain kanten then adding different toppings to give flavour and texture. It’s great just drizzled with maple syrup or mixed with canned fruit.
Dessert this night was kanten with slices of canned pears which I made in September, with a few spoonfuls of canning syrup and kinako (ground soy bean flour) sprinkled over top. Yum!