Traveling through various corners of the globe, I’ve weathered my fair share of scorching summers. Yet, none tested my endurance like the relentless heat of Southeast Asia. The air was thick with humidity, and every step felt like a stroll through a sauna. In the midst of this relentless heat, I needed something cold and refreshing, not fruit jelly or cranacha. I need ice. I was talking about the shaved ice dessert.
Kakigori – Japanese mango Shaved Ice recipe
Shaved ice is made by finely shaving or grinding ice into a snow-like texture. After that, it will be coated with various flavors and toppings such as condensed milk, fresh fruit, jellies, sweet beans, ice cream, or other creative additions. It is a popular dessert enjoyed in many cultures around the world, each putting its unique spin on the classic.
I tried quite a few types of shaved ice from different countries, but the Japanese shaved ice or Kakigori is the one I like the most. The syrup and toppings are totally Japanese style, from matcha and sakura flavor to mochi, sweetened red beans (anko), and cherry blossom-shaped toppings.
So, prepare to beat the heat of the summer days with shaved ice. You can create any type you want or in the Japanese style shaved ice like me. Here is how to make Japanese Mango Shaved Ice without a shaved ice machine:
Mango Shaved Ice in Japanese Style – Kakigori
- 4 cups crushed ice
- 2 ripe mangoes peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup condensed milk
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish optional
- 1 ripe mango peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp sugar
Making mango syrup for shaved ice
- In a blender, combine 1 chopped ripe mango, water, and sugar.
- Blend until smooth, then strain to remove any fibers. Set aside.
Making shaved ice
- Place ice cubes in a zip-top plastic bag or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel. Seal the bag or towel securely.
- Crush the ice using a rolling pin or mallet until you get a coarse texture.
- Transfer the crushed ice to a blender or food processor.
- Pulse or blend the crushed ice in short bursts until you achieve a fine, snow-like texture. Be cautious not to overblend.
Assemble Mango Shaved Ice Kakigori
- Divide the shaved ice among four serving bowls. In a blender, puree the diced mangoes until smooth.
- Drizzle the condensed milk first and then add the mango syrup over the shaved ice.
- Spoon the mango puree over the ice.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves if desired.
Shaved ice variations
The origins of shaved ice desserts can be traced back to ancient times. In Japan, Kakigori has been enjoyed for centuries, with records dating back to the Heian period (794-1185). It was initially a luxury reserved for the elite, but as ice became more accessible, shaved ice treats became popular among the general population. In the United States, the history of shaved ice is intertwined with the creation of snow cones.
It’s known by various names around the world. In each country, it’s made in different ways. Here are some shaved ice varieties around the globe.
- Japanese shaved ice – Kakigori: As mentioned above, this version is often flavored with syrups like matcha, strawberry, or condensed milk. Modern variations include toppings like sweetened red beans, mochi, and even ice cream.
- Taiwan – Baobing: It often includes colorful, sweetened beans, fruits, taro balls, and condensed milk. Some versions even incorporate ice cream for an extra indulgent experience.
- In Peru, it’s called Raspadilla, and Bici bici in Turkey.
- Korea – Bingsu: The shaved ice is topped with fresh fruits, rice cake, condensed milk, or sweetened red beans (Patbingsu).
- Philippines – Halo-halo: The name means “mix-mix” in Filipino. It’s a delightful mishmash of ingredients, including sweetened fruits, jellies, beans, shaved ice, and leche flan, all topped with evaporated milk.
- Thailand – Nam Kang Sai: This variation features colorful toppings like grass jelly, red rubies (water chestnuts coated in tapioca), sweet corn, and jackfruit. It’s often drizzled with various syrups and condensed milk, creating a visually stunning and delicious treat.
- Vietnam – Da Bao: In Vietnam, this shaved ice is often enjoyed by children. It features shaved ice drizzled with condensed milk and a variety of toppings like jellies, mung beans, caramel, and sometimes durian, providing a unique and aromatic twist.
- Malaysia and Singapore – Ais Kacang: It combines colorful ingredients such as red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, and rose syrup. It’s often topped with evaporated milk and a scoop of ice cream.
- Indonesia – Es Campur: This means “mixed ice” in Indonesian. It is a colorful and eclectic dessert with a medley of ingredients like shaved ice, grass jelly, agar-agar, coconut, avocado, and condensed milk.
- India – Gola or Chuski: This shaved ice version is flavored with a variety of syrups like rose, kala khatta, and khus.
- Hawaii – Shave Ice: The ice is finely shaved and flavored with a variety of tropical syrups such as pineapple, coconut, and passion fruit. It’s common to find it topped with ice cream or sweetened adzuki beans.
- Mexico – Raspado: The dessert comes in various flavors, including tamarind, mango, and chamoy. It’s often served with fruit chunks, chamoy sauce, and sometimes a sprinkle of chili powder for a sweet and spicy kick.
- Brazil – Raspa-raspa: In Brazil, this is a popular street food. It’s made by finely shaving ice and topping it with sweet fruit syrups, condensed milk, or even coconut milk.