Grass jelly? Qu’est-ce que c’est? It’s those black blobs floating around in this delicious coconut milk based dessert bowl with fresh mango and sago.
Is it made of grass? Is it like jello? Why should I eat this odd coloured jiggly goop? Oooh the questions! Even though it’s called grass jelly, it’s not made of grass. Rather, it is made of an herbal plant called Chinese mesona. It is related to the mint family (according to Wikipedia), which explains the subtle minty flavours. It’s also slightly floral and perfume-like with a hint of bitterness. In the form of jelly, it bares the consistency of jello, only sturdier with more bite to it. This jelly is apparently good for you as a cooling agent, especially if your body is too “heaty” (e.g. you’ve eaten too many deep fried “hot” foods).
It can used be in a variety of desserts (like the one above) or it can be eaten alone. Often, we find it in cans at the grocery store in either black or green. Loosening it from the can, you’ll get the jelly in the shape of the can (even with the imprints of the lids) but you can simply cut it into cubes.
Grass jelly can be eaten without any additional toppings, but if you would like it to be sweeter there are a few options:
- Add a bit of brown sugar on top and stir
- Add some maple syrup on top and stir
- Make a sweet syrup over the stove consisting of brown sugar and water with a few slivers of ginger to give it some pow!
Of course, you can add it to a bunch of other things too like bubble tea or with some fruit. Have it as a dessert or a snack. It’s best to refrigerate it before eating and it’s great to consume on a hot day. Perhaps healthier than some other cooler options out there too. 🙂