vegan mango jelly with strawberry + mint salad recipe

Sometimes it's funny how things turn out. Right when we were starting to feel like the world was turning against us (hurt ankle, broken leg, bung computer, notice to vacate our house... you get the picture) a little light in the form of two mango trees appears at the end of the tunnel.
It's such a simple little thing, I mean, they are trees right? But for us they are so much more. When we first heard last week of our landlords plans to move back into our house (we had been under the impression we would be here long-term, so it really was a shock!) our first thoughts were of our garden that we'd be forced to leave behind. Silly I know, when there are so many more important things going on in the world. But when you have grown plants from seed, nurtured them and after months of tending too they are finally near ready to produce food, food that will in turn feed and nourish us and our family, well, you can see it's more than just plants to us. 

Initially we thought we'd have to leave it all behind, which did seem rather ironic as just days before I had posted the link to my facebook album, garden. But after much discussion, Si and I decided that we had nothing to lose, and on an overcast day earlier this week we dug the whole lot up, minus the tomatoes. All our vegetables now sit in pots down the side of our garage, hiding from the intense heat of summer until they find their 'feet' once again. We are not 100% all of them will survive the transplant, but it was either that or leave it all here to die and go to waste. I think not.
So anyways, back to where this story began. On the day we first got notice, I made a comment on facebook: 'Way too many things have gone pear shaped this year. Fingers crossed we find an amazing house with a mango tree in the backyard! Then all will be forgiven'. It seems someone was listening. A few days later Si was looking online at rentals in our area when he yells out "this ones got a mango tree Emm", I jumped up to have a quick look... looks promising: in the kids school zone, and within walking distance, in our price range, mango trees... When's the viewing day Si? I ask. 26th November, 2pm, he replies. I look at the clock, 1.55pm, double check the date on the laptop, 26th November. The rest they say, is history! It was a nervous few days wait to see if our application was accepted and you'll know how much pulling power those two mango trees have when I tell you that we gave up the prospect of another rental on the same road we are currently on, with a dish-washer and gas?! Yes we are mad, but the way I see it is this: If we are going to be only living here in Perth for a few more years, why not make them beautiful, delicious, juicy mango-filled years?

I'd expect a few more mango recipes showing up on here in coming months, and to start them off I thought I share this gorgeous mango jelly recipe that has quickly become one of our families favourites. I'm not vegan, but I've always had this thing about gelatine and if I can, will avoid it with a 10-foot pole.
I've been playing around with agar-agar over the last year or so with a few pretty average results, but this jelly here I'm happy to say is one of the winners. It's full of flavour with most of the sweetness coming from the mangoes themselves, topped up with just a touch of pure (light) palm sugar.

vegan mango jelly with strawberry + mint salad
I know, I know, sorry NZ readers. I'm torturing you. You can also make this recipe using 1 large tin of sweetened mango pulp, available from Indian grocery stores in place of the mangoes and sugar. You can find plain agar-agar powder at your local Asian grocers for around $1-2.
serves 4-6

3 medium mangoes (around 1kg), peeled, seed removed and flesh roughly chopped
1/3 cup (95g) finely grated pure palm sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (250ml) water
juice of 1 lime
7g packet agar-agar powder

250g punnet strawberries, hulled and finely diced
1-2 teaspoons icing sugar (powdered sugar) or a spoonful of honey/brown rice syrup, to taste
1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint leaves

Rinse a large bundt tin in cold water and set upside down in a dish rack to drip dry slightly. (You can also make individual portions in small bowls/cups too). Process mango and sugar in the food processor until smooth and creamy. Combine water and agar-agar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring, add the mango puree and cook 1 minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and add lime juice. Pour into the damp cake tin (the water will prevent it from sticking to the tin) and leave at room temperature for 1 hour until cold and set. Refrigerate until cold or overnight. Go around the edge of the tin with your fingers pressing down gently, to break the seal then turn out carefully onto a large plate. Serve with strawberry and mint salad.

To make the strawberry and mint salad combine the finely diced strawberries, icing sugar/honey/brown rice syrup and lime juice and set aside for 2-3 minutes to allow the juices to start to seep. Fold through mint just before serving.

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  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Yum! Beautiful photo. Yes, I am very jealous of all those mangos! I've never had much success with agar – my jellies turn out either very watery or like rubber – any tips? I'm keen to try out your recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Sugar and Spice
    December 3, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Mmm…mangoes. Fragrant, juicy, sweet mangoes. I miss them. The mangoes I grew up with in Singapore are so different from the often imported ones in NZ, which I found don't smell of anything and go fiberous really easily. And that's another thing I grew up with – Swallow brand agar-agar! It used to cost like around 60cents per pack to buy. Mum would buy all the different colours and pour them into different shaped moulds. My favourite were the seashell moulds!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Rebecca~ You do get a much firmer textured jelly when using agar-agar as opposed to gelatine, that's just the nature of it. It does need to be brought to the boil with the liquid component(unlike gelatine), so maybe that's why yours has turned out runny in the past?

    Shirleen @ sugar and spice~ Oh yes you must miss them having grown up on the real ones in Singapore. The imported ones we get in NZ are gross 99% of the time, sadly. My (Vietnamese) mother-in-law makes all sorts of brightly coloured jellies using agar-agar too, and if I remember rightly it gets chopped up finely and added to this super sweet drink/concoction that Si loves. Along with beans, seaweed, ice and sugar syrup.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I'm glad you found a new place and what a bonus with mango trees! The dessert looks perfect.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    So glad to hear things are starting to turn in your favour again – landlords, what's with them?

    Mangoes are just starting to come into season here, but you cannot beat having trees – I look forward to seeing what other recipes you come up with. This jelly looks absolutely stunning, have never used agar agar before, but I don't mind gelatine (can see why you'd avoid it though.) Definitely agree with browsing Asian supermarkets first – got a bamboo steamer for a dollar or two when it would've cost about $20 from a cookware shop 🙂

  • Reply
    December 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Looks like God is looking out for you. Love that you got what you asked for… a home with mango trees! 🙂

  • Reply
    Charlotte S
    December 4, 2011 at 2:19 am

    I presume you know this song? It seems very fitting!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Haha yes Charlotte, it's one of my all time favourite songs, and the kids and I do our own version of the chorus… which will now be true! I had thought to try and put that song somewhere on this post to listen to while you read… but had no idea how to do that 😉

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    December 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I love poking around the Asian grocery stores near us, they have such great ingredients, and generally for a lot cheaper than you'd think.
    I'm so glad things are looking up for you, and try some Seasol on the veggies as soon as you re-plant them.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Thanks! We have some so will do, I'm sure a good feed will be much appreciated after all the stress they've been through being transplanted in this heat! xx

  • Reply
    Cass @foodmyfriend
    December 5, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I really missed jelly when I became a vegetarian. I love using agar agar now. I always buy the pineapple flavoured one. I think it has better staying power than gelatine to be honest!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I am landing here from finding vegan and I am so glad that I came have a wonderful space with lovely collection of recipes…I love using agar agar to set my puddings and this is one beautiful jelly 🙂

  • Reply
    December 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Well, thank you for the link :-), yes in NZ mangos are a bit too precious to transform into jellies, unless we can find a cheap box of really ripe mangos… but generally they are almost rotten since they arrive here badly refrigerated. I'll keep going with mango pulp for now, I always have a can in the pantry now!


  • Reply
    December 5, 2011 at 10:48 am


    you could enter this for Sweet NZ, we will be envious again about your mangos, but it is very suitable to Xmas down-under, I think 🙂

  • Reply
    December 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Congratulations on your new home! The mango tree spirits were looking out for you. I am envious…a mango tree will never be a possibility here. What stunning photos!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Looks lovely! Something I would order at a restaurant. Great recipe!!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    So happy to hear it all worked out & with mangoes too! Love mango so look forward to all those mango recipes! May have to break the rules & buy some of the Australian ones we have here….:)

  • Reply
    January 25, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Hi Em,

    So looking forward to making this tomorrow!!
    Funny thing is, I'm actually allergic to mangos, however it's only the sap from the fruit once picked, otherwise I cam eat a gazillon of them!! Will let you know how the dessert turns out.

    Ciao for now

    Adrian W

    • Reply
      January 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Yeah Ada too seems to be allergic to the sap on the skins… hope you enjoy the mango jelly as much as we do! xx

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