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Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตย

Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตยIn cooking Thai food, I’m occasionally reminded of my days growing up in the microbiology lab.  Sometimes it’s simply a reminder of how much fun it is to do experiments, like this curry paste brand comparison “experiment”.  Other times, it will be a specific ingredient that triggers my memory, such as shrimp paste, which always brings me back to the aroma of an autoclave just finishing its run…

But none of these reminders has been quite so literal as this agar-agar dessert, which, as far as I can tell, is made from the same agar used to grow bacteria in the micro lab.

Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตยWhen combined with fresh pandan and coconut, this growth media is transformed into a delicious Thai dessert.

The pandan brings an earthy, almost nutty flavor while the coconut adds a rich creaminess.  Because of the agar, this dessert solidifies at room temperature, making it very versatile and easy to share.  It’s kind of like an elevated jello, without the hassle of refrigeration, and with amazing Thai flavors.

Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตยThe agar can be poured into molds, cut into squares or cubes, or even pressed with cookie cutters to make specific shapes.  It’s the perfect medium for wherever your imagination takes you — even if it’s back to the lab with coconut- and pandan-flavored DNA nucleotides :)

Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตย

Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตย

Makes 8-12 servings

Coconut and Pandan Agar | Wun Gati Bai Tuey | วุ้นกะทิใบเตย



  1. Wash and cut the pandan leaves into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Make pandan juice by mixing 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup pandan leaf pieces and pulsing together in a blender. Strain to remove the leaves, reserving only the pandan juice. Set aside.
  3. Combine the agar agar powder with 4 cups of water in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a gentle boil and allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. Then add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Once the agar agar has been boiled and sugar dissolved, remove 2 cups and place into a separate bowl. Add the pandan juice to this bowl and stir to incorporate. Pour into a shallow pan or mold and allow this pandan-flavored layer to harden at room temperature.
  5. While the pandan agar is solidifying, add the coconut milk to the remaining agar agar on the stove. Mix to incorporate and turn the heat down to low, keeping the agar warm but not continuing to boil.
  6. Once the pandan layer has solidified, slowly pour the warm coconut agar agar layer on top. Allow this layer to solidify, then remove from mold or cut into desired shapes.
  7. Top with fresh young coconut meat, if desired, and serve while still fresh.

22 comments… add one
  • elsa August 30, 2018, 8:41 pm

    i meant can i

  • elsa August 30, 2018, 8:41 pm

    an i use pandan extract in lieu of the pandan leaves and if so how much?

    • Rachel September 2, 2018, 3:29 am

      Hi Elsa, yes, you can definitely use pandan extract; however, it does have a more artificial taste than using the leaves. In terms of the amount, it really depends on the brand and will require some trial and error. I’d suggest starting with just a drop or two as most are super concentrated. Best, Rachel

  • Chutima Intarapanich May 14, 2018, 5:39 pm

    Hi, I am a lecturer of a university in Thailand. Recently, I’m making English lessons for food service students. I found your recipe is easy to understand and authentic. I think my students will like to read it. May I ask for your permission to put it in the lesson?
    Thank you :D

    • Rachel May 16, 2018, 4:16 am

      Sawadee ka Khun Intarapanich. I would be honored for you to use this recipe in your lecture. Best, Rachel

  • FS April 15, 2017, 9:51 am

    I am a plant pathologist, I have done my share of plant DNA extractions and blending leaves in liquid is a good starting point. Or preparing agar for specialised pathogens that want to grow only on leaves agar ;-).
    This is like the lab moving to the kitchen for real! If I get my hands on fresh pandan leaves I will do this!

    • Rachel April 17, 2017, 3:15 am

      Haha awesome :) I hope you can find fresh leaves — it’s a really delicious experiment!

  • Steven Soloduk March 30, 2017, 9:22 pm

    The recipe mentioned “without” refrigeration does this mean that it shouldn’t be refridgerated?

    • Rachel April 7, 2017, 9:20 pm

      Hi Steven, the agar doesn’t require refrigeration to set; however, if you don’t eat it all in one serving, I would recommend keeping it in the fridge to stave off bacterial growth.

  • Chel December 4, 2015, 7:25 pm

    Do you know why whenever I made the jello it never has two layer?

    • Rachel December 5, 2015, 4:33 am

      I’m not sure… Did you let the first layer solidify fully before adding the second layer?

  • Laura August 7, 2015, 3:59 am

    Could you kindly suggest the amount of pandan extract to use as substitute for pandan leaves? Can’t wait to try this…

    • Rachel August 8, 2015, 3:32 pm

      Hi Laura, I haven’t used pandan extract in this before, so I’m afraid I can’t guide you with experience. I’d suggest starting with just one drop, tasting the agar mixture, and adding more until it’s just right. Best of luck!

  • Christine June 26, 2015, 12:20 am

    If I let the pandan part solidified then pour the coconut on top will they stick together? Thanks…

    • Rachel June 30, 2015, 12:57 pm

      Hi Christine, I think the layers would have a much harder time sticking together if left to solidify completely. I haven’t tried this though, so if you do, let me know how it works.

  • alice July 21, 2014, 8:36 pm

    How much pandan juice do I end up with after blending 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup of pandan leaves?

    • Rachel July 22, 2014, 5:17 am

      Hi Alice, you should end up with approximately 1/2 cup of pandan juice.

  • Chelsea April 20, 2014, 12:51 am

    Where does the sugar from the ingredients go?!

    • Rachel April 20, 2014, 7:00 am

      Hi Chelsea, thanks so much for catching that! The sugar should be added after the agar agar has boiled. I’ve updated the recipe.

  • Padaek April 15, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Looks delicious! Love the letters – so cool! :)

  • Yelena April 14, 2014, 10:59 pm

    This is amazing! The color are great together and it looks so perfect!

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