Like most everyone, my first taste of jello as a kid was of the wiggly green (lime) or red (cherry) variety.
But my heart belongs to the white type.
Namely, almond jello. As in the Chinese version so often offered at dim sum or — if you’re very lucky — at the end of a banquet dinner (just say “no” to red bean soup!).
It was cut into little cubes, spooned into a Chinese rice bowl, and topped with canned fruit cocktail, lychees or mandarin oranges, with their sugary syrup, too.
OK, farm-to-table it was not.
But after a multitude of warm, savory dishes, it sure hit the spot. It was cold, a fun texture, heady with the taste of almond extract, and sweet from the canned fruit and thick syrup.
As a kid, I would make it all the time at home. It’s that easy. If you can make regular Jell-O, you can surely make this with your eyes closed.
I admit it’s been years since I’ve made it, though. My love for baking won out, and I’m more apt to be baking a batch of cookies than stirring up a pan of flavored gelatin.
But Danielle Chang got me in the mood to revisit this old-school Chinese dessert.
Chang is the founder of the LuckyRice festival, a celebration of Asian cultures and cuisines, which takes place in seven cities, including San Francisco.