The secret to this dessert is agar agar, known in Japan as kanten, an odorless, tasteless substance made from sea vegetables. Traditionally used in Japanese desserts, agar agar has thickening and gelling properties that make it a perfect vegan substitute for gelatin. You can typically find agar agar in Asian markets and health food stores.
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened full fat coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 Tbsp agar agar flakes (see note)
- 2 cups raspberries (see note)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- In a small pot, combine coconut milk and 1 Tbsp of the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Add agar agar flakes and whisk well to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until agar agar is fully melted, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and divide mixture evenly among six ramekins or small bowls (see note). Place in refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- In a small pot, combine raspberries, water, lemon juice, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and berries are broken down, about 5 minute. Remove from heat, pour into a medium bowl, and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour in chia seeds and stir well to combine. Let sit until mixture is somewhat thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove ramekins from refrigerator and fill evenly with the chia mixture. Place ramekins back in refrigerator and chill until chia mixture is firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
If you have trouble finding agar agar flakes at your local health food store or Asian market, you can order them online.
Because raspberries are currently out of season, I opted to use frozen raspberries instead. When in season, fresh raspberries would work equally well in this recipe.
When choosing your serving vessels, note that each serving is approximately 1/2 cup.