Friday, August 17, 2012

Wiggle It !

In Culinary world, Gelatin could be grand master piece ingrained with lobster meat or fancy desserts layered with different fruits - Of course, the gelatin that I grew up with was nowhere near as eccentric as that. My childhood gelatin was my lola Auring's homemade gulaman embedded with bits of pineapple or canned fruits.

Little that I know those wobbly and colorful desserts that we made fun of was actually part of a rich and grand culinary tradition. Going through my mom's old cookbooks, making gelatin required strenuous simmering animal, most commonly veal or beef bones and skin to extract collagen, constantly skimming and carefully straining it through layers of napkins. In the late 19th century, the process of laborious making was cut short; Charle's Knox popularaixed the powdered form. And then came the handy and ready to eat flavoured Jell-O which became popular to average home kitchen.

The word gelatin comes from French word gelatin meaning edible jelly and gelato meaning to freeze. Gelatin is odorless, colorless and tasteless thickening agent; it is comprised of 84 to 90% protein, 1 to 2% mineral salts and 8 to 15% water. It contains no fat and has about 95% calories per ounce. According to studies, Gelatin is good for digestion. It contains glycine, an amino acid that helps mobilize the digestive process helping to detoxify the digestive system. It is also an option for sinful desserts for people trying to lose weight.

Today, food manufacturers used them in hundreds of products from providing body and weight to marshmallows and gummy candies, stabilizer and texture enhancer to ice creams, to helping in the fermentation of beer and wine. In its purest form, it became relevant to cutting-edge restaurants. Spain's Chef Ferran Adria used gelatin as stabilizer in his sensational espuma or foam dishes.

The last encounter I had with the jiggly dessert was when I was sick. Still, the soothing slurp was exactly what I needed at that time- it was a nostalgic comfort and it dawned on me why gelatin is such a powerful and lovable food. Indeed, Gelatin has always been relevant in both classic home and modern restaurant kitchen.

Classic Perfection Salad


1 cup Boiling Water
1 (3 oz) pack Unflavored Gelatin
5 tblspn Lemon Juice
1 tspn Salt
1 cup Cold Water
1 cup  Celery, finely diced
½ cup Carrots, finely diced
1 cup Cabbage, finely shredded

Procedure :

1.       Pour boling water over gelatine in a bowl.
2.       Stir until gelatine is dissolved.
3.       Stir in Lemon juice, veggis, salt and cold water.
4.       Pour into mold, chill until firm.
5.       Serve unmolded on chilled plate, topped with generous dollop of Mayonnaise

Jiggly Wasabi Oysters


1 pack Unflavored Gelatin
2 tblspn Hot Water
1 tblspn Wasabi paste
2 tblspn Lemon Juice
1 1/2 cup Water


1.       Dissolve gelatin in Hot Water. Pour in a sauce pan.
2.       Stir in water, wasabi paste and lemon juice over high heat. Let cool.
3.       Pour in a greased baking pan.  Chill until set and firm.
4.       Cut into cubes and put on top of oysters.

Coffee Wiggle


1 pack  Unflavored Gelatin
2 tblspn Hot Water
3 tblspn Sugar
2 cups Fresh Brewed Coffee
Whipped Cream


1.       Dissolve gelatine in hot water in a bowl.
2.       Pour gelatine mixture, coffee and sugar in a sauce pan.
3.       Over high heat, bring to a boil. Let cool a little.
4.       Pour coffee mixture into mold or glasses for individual serving
5.       Chill in refrigerator until firm.
6.       Serve with whipped cream on top.

Food Notes: 
1.Gelatin procedure may vary, follow package instruction.
2. Published on Cook Magazine June 2012