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Strawberry-Haupia Agar Agar

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Homemade haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding) made with agar agar,  fresh strawberries, and a splash of almond milk! Easy to make, this is a beautiful and healthy dessert.

Fresh strawberries and homemade haupia is a natural pairing.

What Is Haupia?

Haupia is one of many great traditional Hawaiian desserts. It's often described as coconut pudding, but the texture is like a cross between pudding and jelly. The main ingredient in haupia is coconut milk. Cornstarch is the traditional thickener used to make haupia...but for today's dessert, we're making it lighter with agar agar. 

What Is Agar Agar?

You know how we often use gelatin powder for many jelly-type desserts?

Think of agar agar as the natural version of gelatin powder. It's an extract from algae. Unlike gelatin powder, agar agar is happens to be vegetarian. I like using agar more because the desserts set more firm, and also maintains shape at room temperature.

Agar agar is used in a lot of Asian desserts...and with Hawaii having such a large Asian population, it makes sense that agar agar is a pretty popular in ingredient in Hawaii. If you get really into agar agar (join the club ^_^), try also making my Osmanthus and Goji Agar Agar recipe.

Where To Buy Agar Agar

Fyi, I’ve included affiliate links below. I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through the links.

I buy agar agar from Japanese supermarkets (Mitsuwa, Nijiya, Sunrise Mart, etc). You can find agar agar in three forms: stick, flake, or powder. Powder form is easiest to use. Pictured above is one of several brands you can find at the Japanese market. This box has the agar agar powder packed in 4 gram portions. 

I've see many types of agar agar for sale online (this one is popular), but weirdly can't find any of the Japanese brands! Get yourself to a Japanese market if you can.

Strawberry-Haupia Agar Agar Recipe

This is an easy recipe and makes enough for 4 people to have dessert. All you need is patience to wait for the haupia agar agar to set in the fridge. Here's what you'll need:

Ingredients

  • 4 grams agar agar powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk - we always use the Chaokoh brand coconut milk, it's the best! It's so much richer and thicker than any other canned coconut milk I've come across. You can find it online or at many Asian markets (especially the Southeast Asian markets). But if you can't get this brand, don't let that stop you from making this dessert ^_^
  • 1 pint strawberries, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/4 cup almond milk - you can sub in oat milk if preferred, or skip the milk part entirely. We like to add a splash of almond milk so that the dessert is more "spoonable."

Method

Make the haupia agar agar:

  1. Using a whisk, mix 4 grams agar agar powder and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Over medium-high, heat the mixture until it begins to boil. **You want to have the mixture boil so that the agar agar powder is "cooked." If it is not "cooked," then it will not melt and the jelly will never set.
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar, keep whisking while it's at a gentle boil. Add in the 1 cup coconut milk, keep whisking till it comes back up to a gentle boil.
  3. Turn off the stove, remove the saucepan from the heat. Let cool for 3 minutes. Then pour into a heatproof container. Anything from a simple square Pyrex to this mold with a removable inner tray will work. Let the agar agar set in the fridge for at least two hours. I like to prepare this the morning of (and serve it for post-dinner dessert) or the day before (when I want to have it ready for afternoon snack the next day). 

Assemble:

  1. About 15-30 minutes before eating, put the four serving bowls in a fridge. Think small, rice bowl size.
  2. Remove haupia agar agar from the fridge and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. 
  3. Now it's time to assemble! Pour a splash of almond milk (or oat milk) into the bowl. Divide the haupia agar agar cubes, and quartered strawberries between the four bowls, and enjoy! ^_^

Notes:

  • You can use any milk you want. We prefer almond milk because I love how the coconut/haupia and almond flavor goes together. You can also skip the milk entirely (we just like a little splash because the makes the dessert more spoonable/soupy.
  • Feel free to replace the strawberries with any other fruit. Blueberries, raspberries, mango, and watermelon also go really nice with this. 

Recipe below ^_^

Strawberry-Haupia Agar Agar

Strawberry-Haupia Agar Agar

Yield: Dessert for four
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

A healthy and refreshing treat of haupia (coconut pudding) agar and fresh strawberries. So good on a warm Hawaii day ^_^

Ingredients

  • 4 grams agar agar powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pint strawberries, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan and using a whisk, dissolve 4 grams agar agar powder into 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let the agar agar "cook" for another minute while boiling.
  3. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to medium heat and whisk in 1 cup coconut milk. Let cook for another minute until the mixture is just about to boil again.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside, let cool for for 3 minutes.
  5. Pour into a heatproof container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the haupia agar agar set.
  6. Cut the haupia agar agar into cubes. Divide into four chilled bowls. Serve with quartered strawberries and a splash of almond milk.
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