The name is sometimes misleading, as the dish is often prepared using apricot kernels (杏仁), not almonds, though the flavor is similar, and most recipes do not use soy beans (as are used in tofu, 豆腐), though the consistency is similar.
In the traditional recipe, the primary ingredient is apricot kernel, soaked and ground with water. The kernel milk is extracted, sweetened, and heated with a gelling agent (usually agar). When chilled, the milk mixture solidifies to the consistency of a soft gelatin dessert.
Almond jelly can be made using instant mix or from scratch. Although the agar-based recipe is vegan, there are numerous nontraditional recipes that are not. Most are based on dairy products and a small amount of flavored extract. Gelatin is also a common substitute for agar.
There is also an "instant" flavored soy-based powder with a coagulating agent, which dissolves in hot water and solidifies upon cooling.