China Grass

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China Grassย  or Agar Agar is nothing but a Vegetable ‘gelatine’ derived from a number of seaweeds (Gelidium amansii) which are processed by boiling and drying. Agar-agar is used as a quick-setting base for many sweets and desserts in Asia. Refrigerators are a luxury many people in Asia do not have, and agar-agar’s chief advantage is that it will set without refrigeration and not melt down in tropical heat. It is also used as a finishing glaze.(Source Asia Food Glossary )

It is available in powdered form or as dried strands.While using strands ,always cut the strands into small pieces(with pair of kitchen scissors) and soak them in water for 10-15 min.

This is a base recipe of China grass and my Mother makes it this way.You can try out different versions,varying from adding nuts, to fruits etc.One beautiful way of having this pudding is given here at Mishmash

And this goes without saying that this China grass recipe is ofย  my Mother, but this time it was my Younger sister who made it, and I just clicked it gleefully ๐Ÿ™‚

5.0 from 2 reviews
China Grass
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 5
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A dessert made from agar agar (china grass), a soft creamy milk dessert that resembles panna cota
  • Milk about 11/2 lit. (yields approx five cups like above)
  • Agar agar strands 1 packet ( Generally of 10 gms)
  • Sugar as per taste (Mom just adds 5 tsp and it was sweet enough for diabetic people in family,but you can add more)
  • Water 1 cup
  • Cardamom pods (choti elaichi) 4-5
  • Nuts to garnish
  1. Cut the strands into an inch long pieces(or even smaller) and soak them in water for about 10-20 minutes
  2. Meanwhile keep the milk for boiling, add cardamoms and let the milk reduce by approx. 600ย  ml (that means there should be less than 1 lit milk remaining)
  3. Squeeze out agar agar to remove water.
  4. Alternatively you can soak it in about a cup of warm milk and then use that mix to pour in boiling milk, without straining.Subtract that one cup of milk from 11/2 lit milk, which is kept for boiling.
  5. Let it simmer and cook till fully dissolved (if needed i.e if there are lumps, you can strain it at this step too)
  6. Add sugar and keep on stirring till thick rabri like consistency is achieved.This could take anywhere between 2-5 minutes so keep on checking
  7. Pour this mixture into ice cream cups or bowls or molds and let it cool and GEL at room temperature. Sprinkle nuts like almonds, walnuts and /or kishmish (raisins), charoli (chironji) etc.Again you can spread it on Flat plate (thali) and after setting, cut it into squares.
  8. Chill it in refrigerator and enjoy it cold or at room temperature

Since this pudding is purely white, off it goes to Lubna’s Yummy Food,where she is hosting this month’s FOOD IN COLOR-WHITE ……event, brainchild of Sunshinemom of TONGUETICKLERS

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34 thoughts on “China Grass

  1. I am searching for the receipe since long time and get it from your blog. Thanks a lot.

  2. Question: What happens if I use heavy cream instead of milk? Does it come closer to panna cotta?

  3. I’ve been trying forever to get a good recipe for china grass. Finally, thanks for the info!! It’s excellent.

  4. Finally, a great recipe for china grass. I’ve been trying forever to get it right. This one works! Thanks for the info.

  5. I use Roohafsa to make it pink and sweet

  6. Hi,

    Came to ur site through google. I have a query regarding the third step: Squeeze out the water of agar agar? Does that mean we are using water just to bloom the flakes.

    Also do u have any idea what measurement to substitute for agar agar strands with agar agar powder?

    Looking forward to ur reply

  7. hey guys, my dad really really like this dish alot and we used to eat this alot when I was a kid in India but now being in Australia I miss it and I tried to get china grass but I couldn’t find it anywhere..So do you think its a gud idea to use Gelatine instead? Its not the vegetarian one but Is it yet possible to use it as its gelatine anyway..
    what do u think?
    Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi,
    Is this also called pis in sindhi?
    if no then i wud like to know pis (sindhi dessert) recipe and its english name ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Now this is a recipe which has been very well explained and looks just great. A job well done….

  10. Nice recipe, looks delicious. I make something similar, but I flavour it with rose and colour it pink with natural colouring. Please see pictures here, if interested:

  11. This looks great! I’ve always wondered just what agar agar is… thanks for posting and for explaining it.

  12. This is my first time here….I guess this is one of the finest recipes i have ever seen…..truly amazing.If i were to host a contest for deserts i wud have chosen u as the winner, am gona search for China grass and make this one.Awesome stuff!!!!

  13. It is my first time here. Looking at this picture at FIC white, i just couldn’t resisit coming here. This dish looks lovely. I have bought my first packet of agar agar and now I also have the recipe! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Went through your blog a little bit and I see thst you are a great cook. wonderful!

  14. thank you

  15. China Grass made my family crazy,they loved it alot

  16. I have never tasted anything made of agar agar. The pudding’s texture is so good. I have to try it one of these days.

  17. Looks lovely, Alka! I too bought some agar agar few days back and was wondering what sort of dessert I should put it into! Thanks for the idea:). BTW, great meeting you, and those nariyal barfis are damn tasty!

  18. aww..! My mom made this a lot too when I was little! I just had a blast from the past when I saw this post.

  19. Looks wonderful and yum…will look for agar agar the next time I go grocery shopping ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I saw these strands last weekend at the super market but didnt really know how its used.

    Thanks for sharing.

  21. this recipe of looking for chinagrass recipes..this sounds perfect..

  22. looking yum n delicious ..perfect click

  23. Belated anniversary wishes to you dear.

  24. Rich, creamy and awesome pudding. Never tasted anything with china grass before. Looks yummylicious. Thank you for sending it down to FIC-White.

  25. I love chinagrass. Looks delicious.

  26. I have never heard China Grass before! & I have never used agar agar. This is so new to me, and looks so beautiful…. all I think of is its so similar to panna cotta…

    I am tired of cakes and cookies, I feel like having this now.

  27. I did the same one long back with rose milk syrup…lovely n awesome clicks..

  28. healthy and easy!
    I should try this soon

  29. It has been ages since I ate this and glad you reminded me of this Alka. My mother used to make this so frequently when we had guests to the point that I got tired of this. Very nice entry.

  30. Wow, looks so good and mouth-watering. Gorgeous click!

  31. Oh I love this, the last time I went to moms place she made this but I had to eat before clicking just to realize half way that there were none left to click..Now i feel like having it again.

  32. Looks fantastic! Alka.

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