Fresh grass jelly from scratch, comin’ right up!
Canned grass jelly was a staple for immigrant Asian families of the recent decades. They were cheap and lasted long, integral to che’s (sweet soup) and good with simple old sugar and ice. Now I don’t know about the general community, but my immediate community in recent years has been very cautious, even resistant to, imported processed food products from certain countries. That includes canned grass jelly. Ya never really know if they’re made from the ingredients the labels claim it to be made from, right?
With the rise of more artisanal foods and emphasis on real, fresh ingredients in the industry, I’ve had a taste of what legit grass jelly is supposed to taste like. Let me tell you, it’s a world of difference! Real grass jelly is tasty and can be the healthy treat and have the cooling properties that it is reputable for. I had to make it myself. Gone are the days of eating grass jelly out of cans. Gone I say!!!
Hop actually got me the herbs to make grass jelly almost three years ago (for Christmas), but I never got to experiment with it until now. You gotta brew the herbs for some time to release the juices. Then you gotta figure out how to make it solidify with the right texture. Soft. Flexible but not so much that it’s snotty. Crunch but not so much that it’s like canned stuff. I tried different combinations and ratios of corn starch, Knox gelatine, agar agar, and tapioca starch. In the end, corn starch just didn’t work, Knox gelatin was disgusting, agar agar alone made it too crunchy, tapioca starch alone made it too snotty.
It obviously took a lot of trial and error, and I think I’ve found the perfect ratio. I should warn you that it takes some time and patience to make grass jelly. But with all godly things (like pho…BBQ…what else?) time and patience is of the essence. In our last post we talked about how to make grass jelly tea and where to buy the herb for it. That is the most active effort you’re gonna put in before you can start making the jelly itself. Check that post out first!
Once you get the final product, you can cut it up into chunks and eat it with sugar and ice, put it in any bubble tea drinks, pour some cream over it, or smother it on your face like Hop does. Lol.
Recommendations for where to get grass jelly desserts:
In Seattle, I’ve had hot grass jelly pudding at Facing East and grass jelly milk tea at Drive Thru Boba. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve had grass jelly in iced milk at BB Tea Station, and herbal jelly over herbal ice at Meet Fresh (herbal jelly is supposedly different from grass jelly, but it kinda looks and tastes the same, with similar health benefits – maybe I’ll dive deeper in another post). Some Boiling Point locations sell Jin Tea Shop’s packaged grass jelly.
Where else would you recommend?
Follow our series of grass jelly-themed posts here:
- Part 1: How to Make Grass Jelly Tea
- Part 2: How to Make Grass Jelly
- Part 3: How to Make Black Sugar Milk Tea with Grass Jelly
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