Aiyu jelly is a refreshing Taiwanese dessert. Often served as a drink topping or with honey lemon water, this popular jelly treat is elegant and light. You can buy it from tea shops and it comes in canned form, but did you know that you can make "fresh" aiyu jelly at home? Yes! All you need are aiyu seeds and hard water. We love to serve it with sparkling apple cider ^_^
What Is Aiyu Jelly?
Aiyu jelly is one of my all-time favorite desserts! It's a refreshing Taiwanese jelly dessert, that's super delicious and also happens to be high in fiber. Aiyu jelly goes by several different names:
- Ogio in Hokkien
- Wan Tau Long in Cantonese
- Ice Jelly in Singapore
The jelly is served chilled and in many different forms. You'll find aiyu jelly served as a drink topping (often alongside boba), it's also served with shaved ice (which is different from Hawaii's shave ice ;). And sometimes it's served solo, just with a little lemon honey water. Spoon and eat!
What is Aiyu Jelly Made From?
It's made from the seeds of the awkeotsang creeping fig (also called the aiyu jelly fig). The fig seeds have this gel/pectin that is activated and released when rubbed.
We place all the seeds into a mesh bag. Then we put that bag into a pot of water and rub the seeds. The pectin is released and the water naturally sets into a jelly. It's a very cool process.
Fresh aiyu jelly is also very perishable. Once the jelly is made, it only lasts for about 1-2 days before the jelly transforms back into a liquid.
Where To Buy Aiyu Jelly?
In Hawaii, we can buy canned aiyu jelly (they have both a yellow and colored green version) from the Chinese markets. The canned version is okay, but it is far more firm than the fresh version. We ate a lot of this growing up.
As a kid, the canned version was the only kind of aiyu jelly I knew about. It was like a whole new world when I tasted the fresh version for the first time. Slippery, silky, loose! The fresh texture is much more elegant than the canned version.
In Taiwan, you can buy fresh aiyu jelly from the night markets and tea/drink shops. It's rare to find fresh aiyu jelly at tea shops the US.
But today, we're going to make aiyu jelly at home! And this super fresh homemade version just might be my favorite ^_^
What Does Aiyu Jelly Taste Like?
Aiyu jelly itself has almost no flavor and is yellow-ish in color. It's like a cool, silky, loose jello. Because it has hardly any flavor, how you serve it really determines the flavor of the final dish. The classic flavor combination is honey plus citrus (lemon or lime).
When we make aiyu jelly at home, we usually serve it one of two ways:
Spoon the aiyu jelly into dessert bowls and topped with homemade honey-lemon water. To make honey-lemon water: just boil water, and dissolve a few spoonfuls of honey into the water. Squeeze in a whole lemon and stir to mix. Let chill and then pour over the aiyu jelly.
Sparkling Apple Cider
We love pairing jelly desserts with sparkling liquids, so we often serve aiyu jelly with sparkling apple cider. It's so fun for adults and kids, everyone really! This is actually the easiest way to serve aiyu jelly and one of the most delicious.
Why This Recipe Works
This aiyu jelly recipe is easy to make and needs only two ingredients: aiyu seeds and hard water.
Pro Tip: Make sure to use hard water (spring or mineral) only. Filtered or distilled water will not work (it will not set into a jelly).
Aside from a mesh bag or cheesecloth, you don't need any other special equipment.
Just pour the seeds into the bag. Put the bag in a pot of water and rub for five minutes. Then place the whole thing in the fridge for two hours, and you'll have ready made aiyu jelly.
Here are the ingredients for aiyu jelly:
- Hard water, chilled
- Aiyu seeds - We bought ours from an online shop called Yun Hai. They have so many cool Taiwanese products! You can see their aiyu seed packaging in the photo above. For this recipe we use half of a one bag.
You'll also need a mesh bag, nut milk bag, or cheesecloth.
Step by Step Directions
Fill the pot.
Fill a pot with the hard water and set aside.
Fill the bag with aiyu seeds.
Place the aiyu seeds in a cheesecloth (or mesh bag) and knot the top, leaving about half-inch of space between the seeds and the knot.
Wash and rub, rub, rub.
Wash your hands well. Then place the bag in the pot of water. With the bag fully submerged in the water, use both hands to rub and squeeze the bag back and forth.
This rub and squeeze step is called "washing aiyu."
Note: don't rub too hard because the center of the seed has compounds that will prevent it from setting into a jelly. But also don't rub too lightly because you won't extract out all the gel/pectin. It's the pectin that will turn this into a jelly.
The bag should start to feel super slippery as the pectin is extracted. Do this rubbing and squeezing for exactly five minutes.
Squeeze and discard.
Then give the bag one last squeeze. Discard all the seeds. Wash the bag and save it for future use.
Place the pot in the refrigerator for 2 hours, until it the jelly is set.
Scoop and serve.
To serve, scoop the jelly into individual dessert bowls. Top with honey-lemon-juice, or sparkling apple cider. Eat and enjoy!
FAQs and Tips
Make sure to use hard water (100ppm or higher) only for this recipe. Spring and mineral water will work. You need the minerals present in hard water to help the jelly set.
Distilled and filtered water will not work. It will not set into a jelly if is not hard water. You can check how hard your tap water is on this site.
Our tap water in Hawaii is not hard enough, so we have to buy hard water to make aiyu jelly. Examples of bottled hard water include Fiji, Evian, and San Pellegrino.
Make sure the hard water is cold (not hot). This will also help release the gel/pectin when you rub the seeds.
Your pot must be clean. Double wash it to make sure there's no grease or residue on the pot.
No. If you try to sweeten the aiyu jelly itself (eg. adding sugar or honey to the hard water before rubbing the seeds), it will not set. This is why the liquid you serve the aiyu jelly with needs to be sweet.
Canned aiyu jelly keeps for a very long time, but fresh aiyu jelly is fleeting!
Once the jelly sets, it's good for only 1-2 days. I try to eat it all the day it's made. The jelly will gradually revert back to liquid over 1-2 days, so plan accordingly ^_^
Aiyu Jelly Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- 6 cups hard water, chilled
- 20 grams aiyu seeds
- Fill a pot with the hard water and set aside.
- Place the aiyu seeds in a cheesecloth (or mesh bag) and knot the top, leaving about half-inch of space between the seeds and the knot.
- Wash your hands well. Then place the bag in the pot of water. With the bag fully submerged in the water, use both hands to rub and squeeze the bag back and forth. (Note: don't rub too hard because the center of the seed has compounds that will prevent it from setting into a jelly. But also don't rub too lightly because you won't extract all the gel/pectin. It's the pectin that will turn this into a jelly.)
- The bag should start to feel super slippery as the pectin is extracted from the seeds. Do this rubbing and squeezing step for exactly five minutes.
- Then give the bag one last squeeze. Discard the seeds. Wash the bag and save it for future use.
- Place the pot in the refrigerator for 2 hours, until the jelly is set.
- To serve, scoop the jelly into individual dessert bowls. Top with honey-lemon-juice, or sparkling apple cider. Eat and enjoy!
- Your pot must be clean - double wash it to make sure there's no grease or residue on the pot.
- Make sure to use hard water (100ppm or higher) only. It won't set into a jelly if is not hard water. Examples of hard water include Fiji, Evian, and San Pellegrino.