Sometimes when it comes to specialty foods like those bought in Asian supermarkets knowing which brand to buy is half the battle. There are any number of products I use regularly from ethnic stores that others are interested in and so this is the first of what I hope will be many such posts.
This isn't so much a recipe; this pudding requires the addition of hot water only and being set in the fridge overnight rather like a commercial jelly mix. I use these non stick metal pudding moulds from Wiltshire which run for about $5 each at the supermarket. Each mold uses 2 "serves" of a packet of pudding and so 1 packet will make 3 molds; more than this is overkill unless you're having a dinner party. A set of 6 molds will do most kitchens more than well.
Fairsen Pudding mixes are excellent quality and run for about $2.30 at Miracle Supermarkets in Sydney. The mix is easy to use, has English instructions on the side and comes in a variety of flavours (though I will generally beeline straight for the almond every time). It is a Taiwanese brand rather than Thai like many of the 'ready made' products available, so the style is much like that from Chinese restaurants. Most importantly all the ingredients are recogniseable natural products which is more than can be said for many of the alternatives on the market.
This pudding mix contains Agar and not gelatin and is Vegetarian friendly however it does contain Milk powder and is not Vegan friendly. I would declare this product safe for the lactose intolerant though, as an extreme intolerant case I can eat a single serve with no ill effects; those who are dairy allergic should avoid. For my pick of the Vegan almond puddings I suggest you try TLY Joyce Almond Tofu Dessert which is available fresh in most Asian supermarkets and some city Coles stores.
Traditionally this dessert is served with mixed boiled fruit and inexplicably in most restaurants it has one lone perfectly preserved Maraschino cherry sitting on top with stem intact. Not for me today though, so here's me putting my little Western spin on a Chinese classic.
Almond Pudding with Maple Syrup and Stewed Spiced Apple
So there we have it, a little slice of heaven made at home with very little effort, try it yourself sometime!