After the Quick Jelly Mousse Pudding recipe, here is the second post towards the three back-to-back super easy desserts. I must stay that this is one among the oldest drafts I have on my blog. I started my blog six and a half years ago, and finally this recipe makes its appearance, amidst a lot of requests on how to tame china grass or agar agar. I already have a few agar agar recipes on the blog but they were posted in the initial years of blogging. Somehow, even though I find working with agar agar far better than its non-vegetarian replacement called gelatin, I am not very fond of the jelly consistency it gives to its dessert. I love desserts with a mousse-like structure over the hard jelly types and I always prepare desserts in that category.
It was only lately I discovered that my girls love jelly like desserts, when they devoured Jaleelakka’s watermelon rose agar agar, which was in fact super delicious! I have received a lot of requests as to simplify making puddings with agar agar. If you would like to read a little about it, you can check this link. I am posting a more detailed pointers as I go with this post. If you are already following me on my IG handle, you will notice that I have already saved up the pointers on my story highlights.
I always use the agar agar strands to make the desserts since they are less tricky. We usually don’t find the powdered once here and when I have used them back home, they tend to act more like gelatin giving a very wobbly and unset pudding. The rule of thumb is for a fairly set pudding like how the above looks, you use 10-12.5 gm of the strands for 1000-1200 ml of liquid. The packs you get here is 25 gm, so I just measure them using a scale, find out the exact middle, and cut in between them. Doing this makes it easier to manage what I keep at home. Hehe…
Another thing to do is to soak the strands. It will soften them and make it easier to melt. If you see in the recipe, one portion of the liquid used is the water in which the strands are soaked. So once they soak, you can utilize the same water to melt the agar agar on low flame till it becomes a gloopy mixture. The low flame will make sure that the agar agar doesn’t lose its setting properties. It is this mixture that then gets added to the pudding base. Now, when you add the mixture, the pudding base has to be at the same or similar temperature as the melted agar agar. That is why it becomes important to not boil the pudding mixture. This will make sure that the agar agar doesn’t clump up in the pudding mixture. Otherwise, you would feel some clumps in your pudding with no smooth texture. Even though there is nothing wrong with serving it, it doesn’t give a good mouth feel. To get a smoother feel in this case, you will need to strain the mixture (just like I did in this Eggless Mango Cheesecake) but you won’t get a pudding that you can cut and serve.
One more thing is that agar agar puddings don’t necessarily need to be set in the fridge. They start setting as the mixture cools to room temperature, but for a better tasting pudding, it is always best to keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
I guess I have covered all the points to be taken care of while using this ingredient. This recipe is a very basic dessert that uses milk and condensed milk, and is actually a favorite whenever it is made. I love topping it with a cashew or almond praline to add an extra crunch to it. If you can’t be bothered, you can even crush some peanut chikki and sprinkle it on top. 😉 This is actually a kid’s favorite and anytime I am out of ideas to make dessert, this one always comes to rescue… hehe… Off to this simple recipe…
Easy Milk Pudding with Cashew Praline | China Grass Pudding
- 500 ml milk
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 10 gm china grass/ agar agar strands
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- FOR PRALINE:
- 1/4 cup cashew nuts roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Soak the china grass in water for around 30 minutes.
- In a saucepan, bring milk and condensed milk to heat - do not boil!
- Simultaneously, in another bowl, melt the china grass along with the water, till you don't see any strands. Ensure to keep the flame on simmer.
- Once the china grass has melted into the water, pour this mixture into the hot milk mixture and give a good stir. Cook for a few minutes till the whole mixture looks incorporated.
- Strain this mixture into a serving glass tray and set aside to cool. As it cools, it will harden. Keep in the fridge to set completely.
- Meanwhile to make the praline, heat the sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water on low flame. Cook till the sugar melts and reaches a beautiful amber color.
- Add the cashew nuts and toss. Spread onto a greased surface till hardened. Using a rolling pin, crush the praline.
- To serve, sprinkle the crushed praline on top of the cold pudding, slice and enjoy!