The History of Kanten
Legend has it that kanten was discovered by chance back in the Edo Period (17th century). Lord Shimazu of the Satsuma clan was staying at a mountaintop inn during the winter and was served a tokoroten, a noodle dish made from algae that takes a lot of time to prepare. At this time, the innkeeper made too much, and the leftovers where thrown out of the window and into the snow. The next day, people discovered that the jelly was still edible, and so began the tradition of creating foods from kanten.
Kanten as a Health Food
Now, people all over Japan consume kanten, often claiming it to be a “superfood” or a “diet” dessert. Completely vegan and containing almost no calories at all, it is a great way to add substance to a meal or make a base for a low-calorie dessert. This orange kanten recipe allows you to substitute stevia, honey or other natural sweeteners for the sugar if you need to make it healthier for a diet-conscious table of guests.
- This recipe calls for you to strain orange juice. However, if you prefer to have pulp in the dessert, you don’t need to strain.
- You can add more/less sugar depending on how sweet you want your orange kanten to be.
- Remember to serve the orange kanten in the orange shell for maximum presentation power.
- 2 Navel Orange
- Little bit of Water
- 1 bag (4g ) Kanten Powder
- 3 Tbsp Sugar
- Cut navel oranges in half. Using knife and spoon, take all the fruits out of the skin. Make sure not to damage the skin! As you’ll use the skin as a cup later, remove everything inside of the skin.
- Squeeze ¾ of the fruits to make orange juice. Divide the rest of the fruits into quarters and place them inside of the orange skin (make 4 orange cups). Set them aside.
- Place orange juice in a measuring cup. If it’s less than 1 cup, add a bit of water to make 1 cup of juice.
- Place orange juice in a small pot and start heating over low heat. Add Kanten powder while mixing.
- Once Kanten powder dissolves, add sugar. Taste to add more sugar if you like. Keep mixing for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
- Once cooled down, slowly pour the liquid into the orange cups. Slowly move them into the fridge and let kanten jello set, about 3 hours.