Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lohanguo Herbal Jelly

If one makes herbal jelly exactly with the amount of water in the instructions on the packaging, it is darn darn bitter. And one has to add loads and loads of sugar to counter the bitterness. Something that is supposed to be healthy is being turned into something unhealthy with the amount of sugar or honey it contains.

Once I made it and I was shocked at the amount of sugar and honey I had to put in. If the syrup was slightly oversweetened, it became totally bitter once the herbal powder was added in. And you have to add in a lot more sugar and honey to counter that undesirable taste. I can't imagine how much sugar and honey I was comsuming. Yeah, it's honey, but honey is high GI too you know and it's not low in calories.

"Understanding the GI is really simple

Carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion, releasing glucose quickly into the blood stream, have a high GI with a value of 70 or more.
Carbohydrate foods that break down slowly, releasing glucose into the blood stream gradually, have a low GI with a value of 55 or less.
Carbohydrate foods that break down at a moderate pace, releasing glucose into the blood stream neither slowly or quickly, have a medium GI with a value of 56 to 69 inclusive." From here

"Foods which are high on the glycemic index(GI) are digested more quickly and therefore keep you full over a shorter period of time. Ideally, these foods should be eaten in combination with foods which are lower on the glycemic index.
High glycemic index foods include glucose, sugar, honey, pineapple, raisins, ripe bananas, baked/mashed potato, parsnips, carrots, rice, regular bread, Cornflakes, muffins, dates." From here

Basically, high GI foods are not that recommended for diabetics or people with high blood sugar levels.

*Eating a lot of high GI foods can be detrimental to your health because it pushes your body to extremes. This is especially true if you are overweight and sedentary. Switching to eating mainly low GI carbs that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream keeps your energy levels balanced and means you will feel fuller for longer between meals.

◦Low GI diets help people lose and manage weight
◦Low GI diets increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
◦Low GI carbs improve diabetes management
◦Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
◦Low GI carbs improve blood cholesterol levels
◦Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
◦Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
◦Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
◦High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
*Taken from here

After reading a nutrition magazine (of which Swee San was featured with recipes), I found that Lohanguo, which is naturally sweet, is a low GI sweetener and is 300 times sweeter than sugar in the same weight. Wow, isn't that great??? So, if I make an overly sweet syrup sweetened with Lohanguo, I won't be comsuming as much calories and definately won't sent my glucose level swinging high.

And so I did..

Please read the intructions of the packet before proceding
1 pack of herbal jelly powder (for 1.25L liquid)
250ml water
3 lohanguo
1.2L water

1. Rinse lohanguo and break them open by clamping it in your palms and pushing inwards with your wrist.
2. Put lohanguo in a pot with 1.2L water. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, mix herbal jelly with 250ml of water (if this is the way stated in the instructions of you herbal jelly packet)
3. Measure out 1L of lohanguo infusion and sieve infusion. (It taste really really sweet)
4. Return to pot and bring to a boil.
5. Pour in herbal jelly mixture and cook as said in the instructions.
6. Pour into prepared containers and let them cool down before chilling in the fridge.
7. When time to serve, if the jelly is not sweet enough, top with diluted honey.

If I was not mistaken, the last time I did this, I used more than 300gm of sugar to counter the bitterness. Just imagine how much sugar and calories you are saving here. But I'd say, not all brands of jelly is this bitter. Some are not, therefore won't need so much sweeteners.

Actually after retrieving the infusion from the fruit, you can do a 2nd infusion, but that won't be as sweet, but why waste it right? Just fill up another 1L of water and boil it for 10 minutes and you have 1L of nicely sweetened lohanguo tea.


  1. This is my favorite. My parents' neighbor used to make a big batch and share among us. But, that's without lohanguo. Need skills also when making this right? I haven't try to make one.

  2. Wendy, thanks for sharing such a great tips on making herbal jelly with sweetener from nature. :D

    Will try this out next weekend. :) This weekend already planned to try out your recipe of Pork Trotters in Black Vinegar 猪脚醋 ... :)

    So glad to bum into your blog. :)

  3. A very good choice to cool down your body heat! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Little Inbox,
    No skills involved :)
    You can use sugar or honey, just that if you sweeten it with lohanguo, it's mush lesser in calories and definately more blood sugar level friendly.

    The amount of vinegar in the pork trotters recipe is very very sour, cos I like it super sour. Do not put in the whole amount of vinegar without tasting.

    The recipe is actually on each GuiLingGao's packing, but that is usally with honey or sugar.
    I just did a variation on the method of sweetening it.

  5. Herbal jelly! I love eating it with milk tea (bubble tea) but I've never made it myself. Thanks for the recipe Wendy, will try it soon!

  6. Wendy, please make this for us when we have the cooking-baking session in ur new house k.. kekeke

  7. Cooking Gallery,
    This is just a guideline. Different herbal jelly powders require different amount of liquid.
    Please check the instructions on the packaging before you try.

    BTW, this herbal jelly is rarely eaten with milk tea. Are you refering to Cincau? A similiar looking black jelly commonly used in beverages?

    Swee San,
    You are making a list of food from me huh. Pak Tong Goh la, this la.. what else?

  8. Really? Luohanguo is so sweet? I didn't know...thought that the sweetness's a bit different, I'd say "kam-tin" 甘甜 instead of just sweet。
    Anyway, I like the aroma of the Luohanguo...I'd like to try this jelly soon, but maybe I'll try half of the recipe 1st coz my in-laws don't eat this, they'r terrified that it's made from tortoise shells. :P

  9. I don't think I have eaten this before but I know lohanguo is cooling. I think I do need some to cool me down a bit after eating too much chocolate cookies :D

  10. I love 龟苓糕,so glad to see this recipe. Will try it out soon.

  11. Wow! This sure looks really cooling.. I can totally understand where you're coming from, I never really taken a liking to 龟苓糕 because of it's bitterness and the tons of honey I have to add.

    I never thought of adding luo han guo which is really a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing! =)

    A really healthy dessert indeed =D

  12. @ Wendy - I ate herbal jelly as toppings for milk tea in Sydney, from "Easy Way", a bubble tea franchise from Taiwan. I don't think it's cincau, it's herbal jelly, but not bitter.

  13. Actually I like the bitterness of Kuai Leng Ko... Topping it with a 2 tsp of honey is enough for me :) I have never made this,though - I will go to medical shop to look for this.

  14. Meldylocks,
    It's not the whole fruit in weight, but the "compound" in lohanguo that is 300 times sweeter than sugar with the same weight.
    Just 2 fruit, and it weighs less than 50gm (not the sweetening compound itself), but it's enough to sweeten a 2L water just like 200gm of sugar does.

    You can try doing half, no prob, but this recipe only gave me 6 cups of jelly.

  15. MaryMoh,
    Hahaha, you should :)

    Let me know how it turns out :)

    Some brands are more bitter than the others. And I'd say Eu Yan Sang's is very bitter. Maybe it has more concentrated, I guess. But now with this method, I can eat without the fear of bitterness.

  16. Cooking gallery,
    Herbal jelly can be sweet and not bitter, just add loads of sugar and you won't even feel a wee bit of bitterness. That was what I did before.

    2 Tbsp of honey only??? I salute you.
    I'd say, those sold out there(ready made) were rather diluted (almost translucent dark brown rather than black) compared to making your own from a powder mix. Eu Yan Sang's jelly mix is very very bitter. I've tried another brand which is very bitter too, some brands are not that bitter and definately not as dark too.
    I'm sure you can find this brand, try this out with 2 Tbsp of honey and let me know :)

  17. usually i will buy herb jelly with lohanguo flavour. When your will have baking/cooking session at your new house, remember to call me huh.

  18. Like Shirley I actually love the bitterness of the herbal jelly. Thanks for sharing the idea of adding lohanguo. So happen I still have a packet of the herbal jelly and two lohanguo in the pantry. Going to try this out.

  19. Sonia,
    You sure boh? Coming all the way here? Almost 3hours drive away, not in Klang Valley. Can leave your kids behind??

    Oh.. Maybe I'm not a bittergourd eater, that's why I got to totally eliminate the bitterness.

  20. this is indeed very very healthy! i miss having these. love your blog. I'm a food blogger myself in Toronto. Chinese born Canadian :)

    Nice to meet you - my name is Jen

    have a nice day!
    jen @

  21. Wendy, you are so good at coming out all these food creation and those info. Though I dun like Kuai Leng Ko but may be can cook for my inlaw :P

  22. I like Eu Yen Sang - so I think I am ok with bitterness - I drink all my coffee black.

  23. Jen,
    Nice to meet you too.

    Thankyou and it's nice to know that you'll be making these for your inlaw. :)

  24. Hmmm.... yum yum herbal jelly! you are really great, making all sorts of food from soup to herbal jelly... really wish I can that i time to come!

  25. Shirley,
    Woah... I can never do it like you.
    I have bitter phobia, hahahah!!!

    Honey boy,
    This is made with powder mix, I can't really do this from scratch. It's just like making jello from the box. Thanks for your compliment :)

  26. oh.. like that ar.. pak thong gou is high priority k. :P

  27. I love this dessert too but somehow this product is not available in Singapore YRS so everytime have to buy from JB. Somehow I just love the bitterness :P

  28. Swee San,
    Ok, got it.

    Oh, not available in Spore? ICIC.
    Hahaha. I'm just so opposite of you, I hate anything bitter.

  29. I love this dessert but have never tried making it myself. And I don't think we can get this herbal jelly powder in Sgp.

  30. Blessed Homemaker,
    Not even other brands? You better ask ur hubby to get you some if he ever travels here for business.

  31. terima kasih gan untuk infonya,,, kalau mau pesan jelly herbal itu dimana ya gan ??


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