Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - http://Cocon puddings (lychee)

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06-25-2009, 01:22 AM
I bought some lychee puddings at the asian grocery the other day. Only 90 calories for a cup (about the same calories and size as a Jello pudding or jello cup that isn't sugar free).

These aren't at all like american style pudding. They're more like a milky jello, but the "gel" is from tapioca and seaweed (agar-agar) rather than gelatin (not to worry, if you're not familiar with agar-agar, it tastes about as much like a sea vegetable as jello gelatin tastes like beef, which is to say not at all).

They have a weird "cube" in the dessert (usually only one, but sometimes two in each cup) that feels almost like a piece of fruit in the mouth, but on closer inspection, it seems to be a much more firmly gelled version of the pudding).

I bought a pack (6 cups), because they looked so yummy (after discovering that I love lychees) - and they are, but because I'm sure they're higher GI/GL than a piece of fruit (they work out as 1.5 fruit exchanges in my diet plan, though not the best "fruit" choice, not terrible occasionally).

They're definitely only slightly less junky, junk food, but wow do they taste good. They'd be really fun for lunch-boxes. I would say they're slightly less sweet than jello, but the fruit flavor (at least of the lychee flavor) tastes more natural. Also, the gel is a little softer than the standard jello recipe.

I can't say I'll buy them regularly, because they are empty calories, but as a moderately-caloried treat, pretty good.

06-25-2009, 09:57 AM
I've used agar agar before in cooking. Sounds like a good vegetarian option for those that miss jello although there are some veg jello options.

06-27-2009, 04:03 PM
I went back today, and looked at different flavors and different brands
Here's one of the other brands (ego)

Besides a couple differen brands, there were a lot of different flavors besides the lychee (mango, mangosteen, strawberry, honeydew melon, green apple)

The calorie count varies, and not all are vegan. Some contain powdered milk (others listed nondairy creamer).

I also bought a dragonfruit. I haven't tried it yet, but it's beautiful.

06-27-2009, 07:41 PM
My son likes these. I don't think they have alot of real fruit in them, but they are a decent treat. Best cold. I think the chewy chunk is konnyaku?- the stuff in the shirataki noodles.

06-27-2009, 10:47 PM
They're definitely not a lot of nutrition for the calorie, junk food really - maybe a small step above 100 calorie packs and other empty calorie indulgences.

Although they classify, because of the sugar/carb content, as a fruit for my exchange plan, I don't let them replace fruit. Generally I use it for my optional exchange, so that I still get in three servings of "real" fruit. I even do the same with fruit and vegetable juices, I may occasionally have them, but I don't let them replace whole fruits and veggies, because the fiber is the best part.

I've been reluctant to try the shirataki noodles, but I may have to try them since I like the little cubes.

The dragon fruit was a bit disappointing. The taste and texture were good, but the flavor is so mild, there almost isn't any, just the flavor of sweetness. It's not bad, but if it were made into a kool-aid flavor, for example, it would be sugar water, with no flavoring. The fruit is smooth with a moist texture, but is speckled with kiwi type seeds.

The texture, is actually the best part about it. If it weren't so expensive (I paid over $5 for one, the size of a large orange), I might even buy them occasionally, but this is probably my one and only dragonfruit, because of the price. Well, unless hubby and I travel to Thailand as we're hoping to one day - I guess they're very cheap where they grow.

06-28-2009, 01:24 PM
I have always found dragonfruit more appealing to look at than to eat, even in their native habitat, but then I am not a kiwi fan and there are some similarities. Give me fresh lychee or rambutan any day!

06-28-2009, 05:49 PM
Until this summer, I had never tasted fresh lychee, only canned (and wasn't impressed). There are several south-east asian groceries in our area, but most sell local (Wisconsin) fresh produce (and in general, I'm not a big fan of any canned fruit).

I tried fresh lychee for the first time, a few weeks ago, and am so in love. The grocer said I probably would also like longan and rambutan (which he had canned), but longan season was over, so I'll have to try logan next year. I don't know if they ever get fresh rambutan in.

I just love trying fruits and vegetables that I've never tried before. Bitter melon was the only one I didn't like. It's just too bitter for my midwestern palate. I don't even care for the bitterness in coffee or dark chocolate (and yet I do like blue cheeses, which can have a bitter note).

06-30-2009, 11:28 PM
Bitter melon is really user friendly if you chop off the ends, scoop out the seeds leaving it whole, stuff with a lean ground pork or turkey mix (add glass noodles or cloud ears if you have them), salt or soy or fish sauce for the salty factor, and tons of black pepper. Poach in homemade chicken broth. Slice after poaching into rounds. Really comforting. One of my markets had it in their steam table take-out area, but they closed, so I make it myself now.