Bubble milk tea which originated from Taiwan, came and went… and came back again. This time round, they appear to have polished up their act significantly and are determined to make this new beverage culture sustainable. Apart from better quality tea leaves, they have also started to offer products which would appeal to the more health conscious. I appreciate being given the option to choose the level of sugar I would like in my bubble tea. I am also glad that I can now pass over the tapioca starch balls (calorie laden) and opt for healthier toppings such as aloe vera and most recently Aiyu jelly.
I was suitably intrigued by this gelatinous topping in my iced tea which sounded curiously like the name of a Chinese girl-next-d0or. It tasted suspiciously like the Ice Jelly cocktail (文头雪）that we normally order at the Ice Kacang stall… So I made a note to look out for it when I went to Taiwan last week for work. Interestingly, most of my Taiwanese colleagues, the ladies especially, were clueless about how I can make this by myself. Most of them were only familiar with the jellied blocks sold at night markets. Eventually it was the wife of one of my male colleagues who passed me a few dried up prickly looking fruits. I remembered feeling a hairy tingle running up my spine when I saw them. My colleague gave me the most elusive instructions, telling me that I had to wash them and asked me to search the internet for instructions.
As it turns out, Aiyu is a variety of Fig which originated from the mountainous area in the Jiayi Province of Taiwan. The fruit when it is still growing on the tree, actually bears a strong resemblance to the green mango. The gelatinous property is derived from the seeds of the Aiyu fruit. Typically sold dried and turned inside out, the appearance is as illustrated in the photo above.
Following instructions from videos found on Youtube, I scraped the seeds (the prickly part) from the dried skin using a metal spoon.
The seeds which felt more like saw dust, was then scooped into a little cloth pouch ( you can use either a cloth sack used for squeezing coconut milk , a fish cloth sack or in my case, I used a tap water filter pouch…) and ‘washed’ in clean greaseless water. The whole process was most fascinating, one basically rubs the seed sac in water like the way one would e.g. handwash your delicate garments. After about 5mins of rubbing, the water would miraculously morph into a wobbly jelly. No chilling in the refrigerator required.
The Aiyu jelly is best served with shaved ice, drizzled with honey and a squirt of lime juice. This refreshing concoction is especially popular during the hot summer months when its cooling property is most welcome. As this is practically a low carb, zero fat jelly, it can be enjoyed guiltless.
Now, my next woe, where would I be able to get this in Singapore? The Chinese Medical Halls? If you have any inkling , please do share. Thanks!
- 15g Aiyu seeds
- 800g Clean tap water placed in a greaseless bowl. (do not use mineral water)
- Drizzle Honey
- Lime to serve
- Place Aiyu seeds in a cloth pouch and secure the opening with a rubber band or tie it up.
- Place the water in a clean bowl.
- Start ‘washing’ the Aiyu seeds pouch in the water rubbing the pouch like you would do when hand washing your laundry.
- Continue for 5mins until the water turn into a wobbly gel.
- Chill in the fridge if you do not have access to shaved ice. Spoon into a bowl, drizzle a little honey and squirt lime juice over it.
- (Alternatively, you can also make a honey syrup to pour over the jelly)