Elaichi Kesar China Grass is a milk-based vegetarian pudding made with agar agar and flavoured with cardamom and saffron.
We move on to the alphabet E this month and I have chosen to cook Elaichi Kesar China Grass as my recipe from my Thali’s. China Grass is made with Agar – Agar or Kanten as the Japanese call it. Before we go to the recipe, let’s first understand about Agar -Agar.
What is Agar Agar ?
Agar Agar is a jelly-like substance extracted from seaweed. It is completely vegetarian and allows to set the desserts at room temperature, giving them a glossy, smooth finish.
What are the Forms of Agar Agar ?
Agar-Agar is available in two varieties.
1 . Strips
Powder definitely is easier to use, but not very easily available in India. It is the strips that we have been using.
How do we use Agar Agar ?
Agar Agar is odourless and colourless, as a result, one can easily use it in any desserts that need to set. It is mixed with boiling water or milk and one has to cook till it dissolves. It sets easily at room temperature.
Health Benefits of Agar Agar
Agar-agar contains fewer calories and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is an excellent source of calcium, iron, folate, fibre, and manganese, so it has many health benefits –
1. Aids Weight Loss
2. Relieves Constipation:
3. High Iron Content
4. Vegetarian Substitute
5. Rich In Important Minerals
6. Good For Skin and Hair
China Grass is one dessert that is made in many countries. It has different versions, but the basic remains the same. My Muslim friends tell me that even they make it on regular basis. It is simple and quick to make with very few ingredients. One just needs to boil milk, add agar agar , flavouring and sugar and leave it to set. Elaichi China Grass is one of my Thali Recipes which goes for the A to Z Series.
I keep changing the flavours, and each flavour is equally good. One can make the vanilla flavour, or you could try with just nuts. The dessert can also be made with coconut milk or juice. For today it is the cardamom flavour along with saffron and nuts. I had prepared this dessert for the Iftar Platter which was made for the September Mega Marathon, where our theme was Thali and Platter Festival.
Some of my recipes with Agar Agar
Elaichi Kesar China Grass
500 ml milk
4 gms agar agar strands
Sugar to taste
1/4 tsp Cardamon powder
Put the milk to a boil.
Soak half the saffron in a tbsp of water.
Wash the agar agar strands and add them to the milk.
Let the milk boil till agar agar dissolves.
Add cardamom powder and sugar.
Rub the dissolved saffron and add to the milk.
Let boil once.
Pour in individual bowls.
Garnish with saffron strands, almonds, pistachios and cardamom powder.
Let set at room temperature.
Place in refrigerator for at least one hour.