Gulaman (Filipino-Style Jello)
Jello: Filipino vs. American Style
American jello is made from a protein that is found in animal bones and skins, and it produces a dessert that is very soft. Filipino-style gelatin, on the other hand, is made from a seaweed called agar-agar. The texture of this type of gelatin is very firm. Imagine my surprise when I migrated to the United States and tried American jello for the first time. I asked my mom, why is this jello so soft?
Both types of gelatin desserts are tasty, but one advantage of agar-agar is that it doesn't contain any animal products. This means that vegans and vegetarians can enjoy it, too. So if you want something entirely new and different, give this recipe a try.
- 8 grams agar-agar strips, available at Asian stores
- 1 liter fruit juice, any type
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 can (15 ounces) fruit cocktail, drained
- 1-2 drops red or pink food coloring (optional)
- Cut the agar-agar (gulaman) strips with scissors into smaller pieces.
- Soak the cut agar-agar in water for about 20 minutes.
- Boil the agar-agar in fruit juice until it dissolves, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the sugar and food coloring.
- Remove from heat and pour the gulaman into a pyrex bowl or container.
- Add the fruit cocktail. Do not mix. Allow the fruits to settle to the bottom of the bowl.
- Refrigerate the gulaman for 1-2 hours until hardened and serve.
- You can purchase colored agar-agar. In this case, you would skip the food coloring.
- Add fresh fruits if desired, rather than canned fruits.
- You can skip the sugar if using a sweet fruit juice such as apple juice.
- Some Filipinos like to add milk (fresh whole milk or evaporated milk) to the gulaman for added color and creaminess. In this case, add 1/2 cup of milk before step 6 and stir.
- You can also purchase agar-agar powder or agar-agar bars instead of the strips. Just follow the preparation and cooking instructions on the package.