Let Make Perfect Japanese Kanten

As a child, every new year, I looked forward to a sweet jelly called kouhaku kanten.

Kanten is a jelly made from boiled tengusa seaweed and seaweed. It is known to be low in calories and high in fiber, so it is often used as a healthy alternative to regular sweets.

If you’re a foodie, you may have heard of or tried tokoroten, another Japanese food with a jelly-like texture similar to kanten. Although tokoroten and kanten look alike, tokoroten retains some smell of sea (weed) and kanten does not. Indeed, the kanten is frozen and dried after boiling, which eliminates the smell of the ocean.

According to officials in Nagano Prefecture, a major kanten-producing region, this unique recipe was accidentally discovered by an accommodation owner in Kyoto during the Edo period (1603 – 1868). Tokoroten, on the other hand, dates back earlier to the Heian era (794 – 1185).

In the Edo period, it may have taken a lot of time and effort to create kanten from red seaweed, but nowadays konakanten, powdered kanten, saves us time. Konakanten is mixed with water and milk and when topped with fruit creates a photogenic food that has recently become a popular candy to cook at home.

I found the recipe below online to try and make the healthy and eye-catching treat. It was fun molding hoar jelly into a milk carton and seeing how canned fruit can add bright colors to it. And most importantly, it was delicious and the soft texture was delicious.

Making this dish was probably the least difficult of all the previous dishes I tried. The recipe didn’t require any cutting or slicing ingredients, so it only took time to heat the milk, water, and condensed milk.

Although hearing that kanten is made from seaweed might make you doubt trying it, I guarantee that after the first bite, you won’t worry about its composition. It’s so delicious!

Why not try kanten and experience the taste of this unique Japanese cuisine?

Recipe adapted from Cookpad


Milk (600ml)

Water (100ml)

Kanten powder (4g)

Sugar (40g)

Condensed milk (30g)

Vanilla essence (one touch)

Canned fruit, strained (a can of any fruit you like)

Empty, washed milk carton (I used a 946ml capacity milk carton. Any size larger than 800ml would do).


1. Pour milk and condensed milk into a heatproof bowl. Microwave the mixture for three minutes (600w).

2. Measure the sugar and powdered kanten into the water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir the mixture while heating it. Once the mixture begins to boil, heat for another two minutes.

3. Next, add the microwave milk and condensed milk to the saucepan and continue to heat the mixture over low heat. Remove from the heat once the mixture reaches a thick consistency. Tip: Test the consistency by adding a drop to a wooden spatula. If the mixture runs, it is not ready. If the stain from the mixture sticks, then it’s ready.

4. Stir in the vanilla essence then pour the mixture into an empty milk carton. (Make sure the milk carton is well washed). Tip: Pour the mixture through a tea strainer to keep your final product smooth.

5. Add drained canned fruit.

6. Close the milk carton and apply a clothes clipper to secure the top opening. Once cooled, put it in the fridge to let it set for several hours (I refrigerated it overnight).

7. To remove the kanten, pour a little water to loosen it from the milk carton and gently slide it onto a plate. You can also cut an edge of the cardboard and use a little water to help the process.

8. Cut into equal portions, serve and enjoy with tea or coffee.いただきます(Bon appétit)!

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