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Monday, April 5, 2010
Sometimes, we forget how good we've had it. When you are surrounded by abundance, you start to take things for granted. It's the Mango season now and the fruits are getting cheaper by the day! We are lucky that lucsious fruits like these are accessible to and affordable for most of us here in Singapore. Indeed, we should be thankful that a very significant portion of the population in Singapore gets to live a dignified life and enjoy quality living that many others can only look on with envy.
Mangoes and Water Melon - fruits we take so much for granted - always remind me of my colleagues in Korea. I remember how suprised I was when they first told me, how having fruits as an after meal snack is a luxury which only the rich can afford. A watermelon, during summer season in Korea costs about US$10, it gets to a whopping US$40 per water melon during the winter season. Hence, whenever I travel with my Korean colleague in SE Asia, they would always slurp up water melon juice and fruits during breakfast and meals. I still recall how a kind Indonesian customer once took pity and bought 2 huge watermelons for $0,.50 and presented them to my colleague. It was a hilarious moment, we had to express our profuse thanks but inwardly, we were groaning with dread at the prospect of lugging the 2 huge watermelons with us. In the end, my colleague left the watermelons in his hotel room with a note telling the room service maid to help herself to them.
I had also taken to 'smuggle' fresh mangoes into Korea when I go there for business. I wrap them up in newspaper and load up my check-in luggage with them. Of course, if I get caught at the customs, they would become a treat for the customs officers ... though I have never wondered if I would be fined or detained.... I am pretty gungho in that sense.
Yesterday, I was at the market and saw these fat juicy Thai Mangoes going at S$2 (~USD1.4) for 3. I bought a whole bunch of them and am having a blast slurping them up for snacks. It is only natural that I would make something out of them for my blog and I have chosen to make this simple jelly from a little cookbook I have on Thai Cakes and Desserts. A double layer jelly solidified with Agar powder, the lower layer is fragrant with mango puree and coconut cream. A layer of sliced mangoes is then sandwiched between a top layer of mango puree jelly and the coconut jelly.
A quick note on my little blunder. I had cooled down the coconut jelly too much before mixing in the mango puree. As a result of which little white specks of the coconut jelly becomes visible. Otherwise, this should be a homogenous yellow layer.
1 tbsp Unflavoured agar-agar powder
250ml Thick coconut milk
250ml Mango puree
1/2 tbsp Unflavoured agar-agar powder
2 tbsp Pandan essence
60ml Mango Puree
1. Make bottom layer first by bringing agar agar powder, water, sugar and coconut milk slowly to boil in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Remove and set aside to cool. When it has cooled halfway, stir in the mango puree. Pour the mixture into a cake pan so that it is no more than 3/4 full. Chill in the fridge for 20mins until set.
2. While the bottom layer is chilling, make the Top Layer by bringing the agar gar powder, sugar, water and pandan essence to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Add the pinch of sale, and mix well. Stir in the mango puree.
3. Arrange mango slices on top of the Bottom layer and pour the Top layer over. (note : avoid the 2 layers to delaminate after set by pouring hot Top layer over the cool bottom layer.) Chill to set in the fridge for 40mins.
4. Slice jelly into serving portions and serve chilled.