Chinese Almond “Jello”


This is by far my favorite Chinese dessert. My Mom used to make it for us when we were growing up and the sweet aroma of almond extract drifting through the house would bring happy tears to my eyes. I think this dessert is responsible for my lifelong obsession with anything almond!

The great news for vegans or for those who just feel a little uneasy about eating gelatin¬†(yes, gelatin is an animal product!), is that Almond “Jello” can be made with agar agar (a gelatinous substance derived from algae). In fact, I make mine from a box mix containing sugar and agar agar, found at my local Asian market. Simply add non-dairy milk and you have yourself a refreshing vegan delight!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • one box of agar agar powder
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups soy or almond milk
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • one can of mandarin oranges, chilled

I use a brand of agar agar powder called Golden Coins, found at my local Asian market

In a large saucepan, combine the agar agar powder, sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Remove the mixture from heat, stir in the non-dairy milk and almond extract and mix together well. Carefully pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and place into the refrigerator until firm. Moving the shallow pan of hot liquid into the fridge takes patience and control so be careful! : )

Once the dessert is firm, cut it into cubes and spoon into individual bowls. Top with chilled mandarin oranges or any other fresh fruit (citrus tends to taste best) and serve.


Happy eating!


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10 thoughts on “Chinese Almond “Jello”

  1. Oo, I love this stuff! It’s really popular in Japan, so you can find it at tons of restaurants there– and not just Chinese restaurants. It’s funny, though, I never actually thought of it as “jello” even though that’s exactly what it is, because it’s called “annin-doufu” in Japanese, which means almond “tofu”, but of course it’s a dessert, just like this recipe.

    Thank you so much for making it seem so simple to make! I might try this as the dessert the next time I have a Japanese-food dinner party. :)

  2. OH EM GEE!!! My mom used to make this in shallow little ramekins when I was a kid. I haven’t had this in over twenty years! I don’t even know what it’s called in Chinese so I could never request it. This looks amazing and it’s really bringing me back to my childhood.

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