Rose and Almond ‘Bean Curd’

An almond-flavoured jelly, called ‘bean curd’ because it has a similar texture, is sometimes served at the end of a Chinese meal. In Shanghai, I came across a stunning combination of oriental and western flavours when Chef Lo at the Shanghai Hilton served such a sweet in a syrup of crème de menthe. This led me to experiments of my own, and to a rose and almond ‘bean curd’.


  • leaves gelatine or tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1 pt / 570 ml milk or ½ pt / 280 ml milk and ½ pt / 280 ml single cream
  • caster sugar, to taste
  • few drops of pure almond essence
  • 3 tbsp triple distilled rose water


Soften the gelatine in ¼ pt / 140 ml.milk. Bring another ¼ pt / 140 the boil, and pour it over the softened gelatine, stirring until dissolved. Sweeten the warm milk to taste, and add the rest of the milk or the cream, the almond essence and the rose water. Wet a shallow dish or cake tin, pour in the liquid and refrigerate until set. Cut the jelly or ‘bean curd’ into shapes, place in individual glass bowls and serve, perhaps with a little more single cream or preserved kumquats, peeled fresh lychees or other appropriate fruit.