You have to understand, as a person who cannot and will not follow a recipe to save her life, getting this jelly to set, in the way that it has set is quite an achievement. Instructions and I have never really got on very well. Rules for me, wave invitations in my face to smash them unrecognizable, bloody and splintered. I go by touch and feel. I trust my senses. They’ve served me well over the years.
However, I have been more disciplined than usual in this. When working with an ingredient that I haven’t worked with before, I tend to take the guidelines into consideration to a certain extent. This is the first time that I’ve worked with natural seaweed jelly. And I must say, quantities are important.
Picture taken from – http://anic-lohas.blogspot.com/2010/07/nutritious-food-1-seaweed-jelly-sea.html
. The packeted seaweed jelly looks something like this. Only a little drier and more stringy. Sorry I couldn’t take a photo before I used it
50g seaweed jelly
Half a lime
2 large wood apples
Sugar to taste
Pinch of salt
Method To extract the jelly
Soak the dried seaweed in water for about 2 hours. At the end of the two hours, the amount of seaweed will have doubled in size.
Wash the seaweed thoroughly. Remove any sand, pieces of shell and debris that may have been caught in it.
Put the seaweed in a large vessel and add 400 ml water over it. The water should essentially cover the mass of seaweed. Add to it the juice of half a lime.
Boil until the seaweed has dissolved in the water. There may still be bits and pieces left.
Strain the water with a soft, thin cloth.
To make the wood apple puree
Scrape off the wood apple and blitz it well in a blender/food processor with a bit of water. Be careful with the amount of water you add since the end result should be about one cup of puree.
Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds. The mixture should be thick and pulpy.
Final step; Make the jelly!!
Mix the wood apple puree with sugar and salt to taste. Simmer the mixture over a low fire constantly stirring it until it is well boiled and the sugar has dissolved.
Add to this the prepared seaweed liquid. Mix well over a low fire.
Pour into individual molds or a flat tray and refrigerate until set.
Et voila! Your jelly is served!
It tastes amazing! (if I may say so myself). It literally melts in the mouth and is surprisingly creamy, perhaps due to the pulpiness of the wood apple puree. It is tangy, sweet and fresh with just a hint of that earthy seaweed jelly. The seaweed jelly does not smell or taste like you would imagine. Yes, the first thought of seaweed for me is that fishy, yucky sticky smell that I simply cannot stand. But you’d be surprised at what this seaweed smells and tastes like. Familiar with the smell of new clay pots or the water that you drink out of new clay water pitchers? The seaweed smells and tastes exactly like that. A fresh sort of earthiness would be the word I guess.
What’s more, it’s 100% natural! No artificial colors, flavors or preservative and whats even more important, YOU know what YOU put in there so it’s guilt-free all the way! Oh and it’s vegan too. Not that I ever intended it to be, but it is.
You can also substitute the wood apple puree with any other fruit that you like. Passion fruit would make a delightfully fresh jelly I suppose. I shall try that next time. Mother Dearest also says that it also tastes delicious with milk or with jaggery and a bit of plums and cashews. (And she says all this after she calmly watches me fumbling around with pots, pans and sieves in the kitchen, running around like woman deranged)
I also did some research by myself (curiosity being my biggest vice) and found that this particular seaweed is considered as a superfood. Apparently it’s beneficial in many ways including being a rich source of collagen, vitamins, minerals (said to contain all 56 of minerals actually) and is even known as a cancer fighter. Pretty neat eh?
As if all that is not enough, apparently this seaweed can also be used in salads, soups, stir-fries and etc of all sorts as well. The problem is finding it. Once in a blue moon you find this in the supermarkets and when it is not there often times nobody even knows that such a thing exists. You should simply keep your eyes peeled at every visit to the supermarket. (If anyone knows where I can get my hands on some of these, please let me know)
Granted that this jelly does involve a lot of work. Let’s just say that I now know why jelly packets exist.
But is the effort worth it? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Definitely.
Sun is out once again after a while and am I glad to see it. And this wood apple seaweed jelly would be the perfect evening treat to have seated outdoors in the garden to freshen up a warm, sunny day like this. (and dare I say it feel Christmassy again?)