This simple recipe for Lychee Jelly is easy to make and contains only 2 ingredients. Sweet, jiggly and refreshing, add it to drinks or desserts!
What are lychees?
Lychees, also known as litchi are a small, round tropical fruit with a white, soft, juicy flesh and a red-green rough textured rind/skin.
Lychee fruit contains a dark brown inedible seed in the middle.
The lychee skin turns from green to dark red as it ripens.
What does lychee taste like?
Ripe lychees taste sweet flavor and impart a strong floral fragrance, similar to rose.
They're juicy, and have a texture similar to longan or rambutan.
Other recipes using lychee
Why you'll love this recipe
This Lychee Jelly is super simple to make and is made with lychee nectar and agar agar powder.
You can add the lychee jellies to a variety of drinks such as bubble tea.
Best of all, it only contains 2 ingredients!
2 ingredients you'll need
- lychee nectar/juice: you can find lychee nectar in Asian supermarkets; if it is nectar, it already contains sugar or sweetener; if using lychee juice you may need to add a little sugar, to your taste
- agar agar powder: is a white colored fine powder, similar to gelatin; you can find it in most Asian grocery stores. As an alternative, you can use gelatin if you are not vegan. If using gelatin, see my notes below.
What is agar?
Agar, also known as agar agar is a natural product with a jelly-like texture from seaweed or red algae.
It is used in many Asian desserts, such as puddings, jelly and custards especially in Southeast Asia.
Agar is a vegan substitute to gelatin, and sets white/clear.
Agar needs to be boiled first before it can set.
Where to find agar?
You can find agar agar as white flakes, or a white powder, similar to gelatin.
Most Asian supermarkets or grocery stores will carry agar.
Note: If purchasing agar powder, be sure to check the ingredient list to ensure it is 100% pure agar powder, and not a powder mixed with sugar.
How to make it
Pour lychee nectar into a small saucepan.
Sprinkle agar agar powder over the liquid and stir until incorporated.
Bring the liquid up to a boil over medium heat for about 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a small glass container (I used a 3" by 4" container).
Cool the mixture and place into the fridge to set.
Once set, use a sharp knife to cut the lychee jelly into small cubes.
If using gelatin powder
Remove 3 tablespoon of lychee nectar. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the lychee nectar first (to bloom) it.
Let it stand for 5 minutes.
Add about half the amount of lychee nectar into a small saucepan and heat until it simmers. Add the other half to the bloomed gelatin mixture.
Remove lychee nectar from heat.
Whisk the bloomed gelatin mixture into the heated lychee nectar, until all the gelatin is dissolved.
Pour into a container, cool and let it set in the fridge, about 1-2 hours.
If using gelatin sheet
Soak the gelatin sheet in cold water for 5-10 minutes.
Gently heat the lychee nectar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Wring the gelatin sheet gently and add into the warm lychee liquid.
Stir to completely dissolve the gelatin into the mixture.
Proceed with the remainder of the recipe.
How to store
Store the Lychee Jelly in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Do not freeze the jelly as the texture will change.
How to use
It goes great with lighter green tea drinks.
Replace the tapioca pearls/boba pearls with the jelly.
Or try it as a surprise layer in cakes.
Expert tips & substitutions
Using lychee nectar/juice yields a white clear jelly.
If using canned or fresh pureed lychee, the jelly will be more of a white-beige coloured, dotted with yellow/brown bits from the husk of the seed.
Using canned lychee will add a pinkish tinge.
Fresh lychees will yield a more white-beige coloured jelly.
Check to see that you're using pure, 100% agar powder.
Some boxes in stores claim to be agar powder, but are actually filled with sugar, and will not set the jelly properly.
Depending on the strength/setting power of your gelatin or agar agar, you may need to adjust the amount.
In addition, acids (such as the ones found in fruits such as kiwi, citrus, pineapples) hinders the setting process so if you're using canned lychees with citric acid, you may need to add a little more agar agar to have it fully set.
Agar agar sets quickly at room temperature, in about 1 hour, compared to gelatin, which needs a longer setting time in the fridge.
Note: if you are vegan, use agar; don't use gelatin, as it is derived from animal parts.
Other Asian desserts you may like
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Simple Lychee Jelly
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 125 ml lychee nectar
- ½ teaspoon agar agar powder
- Pour lychee nectar into a small saucepan.
- Sprinkle agar agar powder over the liquid and stir until incorporated.
- Bring the liquid up to a boil over medium heat for about 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a small glass container (I used a 3" by 4" container).
- Cool the mixture and place into the fridge to set.
- Once set, use a sharp knife to cut the lychee jelly into small cubes.
- Use in your favourite drinks or desserts.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.