The Search for the Smoothest Grass Jelly + BONUS Recipe

Yup, we're back with the comparison posts. Today's theme is Grass Jelly, also known as Chin Chow, or in Chinese, 仙草。 

First, let's address the elephant in the room.

Is grass jelly made of grass?

Well, you make it by boiling a plant called Chinese mesona along with starch and potassium carbonate (source: thewoksoflife)

So I consider it to be a byproduct, like tea. You boil the leaves but you don't eat them. 

What does it taste like?
To me, grass jelly tastes a little herbal. I like that it is unsweetened. It is refreshing in a bowl of dessert or in an iced drink. 

So what's this post about?

Back story: We had this wonderful grass jelly milk tea in JB once upon a time and we have been raving about it ever since. It was ridiculously smooth, soft and jiggly and you can use a bubble tea straw to suck it up and enjoy with the beverage. 

Objective: I wanted to recreate this at home. We are looking for a grass jelly that is unbelievably smooth and slightly soft so that it travels well in a large straw. We're also going to limit the search to supermarkets because the goal is to stock up on the grass jelly and use them when needed. Fresh grass jelly is great but it's a bit of a hassle to leave the house just to get it all the time. 

Without further ado, let's hit the streets to get some grass jelly!

1. 陈顺美 Tan Soon Mui Chin Chow

Price: $1.15 from NTUC
Weight: 500g
Origin: Product of Singapore
Texture: Extra firm and hard

As you can see, there's only a slight give when you press on it with force.

Smoothness: Average, 3/5

Experience: I tried cutting these into big pieces and put them in a homemade iced latte but the bubble tea straw had a hard time doing its job. I gave up and used a spoon instead. 

Recommended for: Cutting into cubes or smaller pieces for a traditional iced dessert. 

2. Grass jelly from the market

Price: $1 per block
Weight: Did not weigh. Probably more than 500g per block though.
Texture: Medium firm
Smoothness: Average, 3/5

Jiggle test: More jiggle than the first grass jelly.

I had high hopes for this grass jelly but I guess the search continues. I always thought 'fresh' grass jelly would be softer.

3. 陈顺美 Tan Soon Mui Chin Chow (Sweetened)

Price: $1 from NTUC
Weight: 300g
Origin: Product of Singapore
Texture: Medium Soft
Jiggle test: We saw it wiggle, wiggle!

So far this is the softest grass jelly we've tried. It's still not what I'm looking for though. 😔

I think there's one more brand that I saw in NTUC, but it looks quite firm as well so I just ignored it. Had too many false starts... guess I'll stick to getting large, soft grass jelly from bubble tea shops until I find one with the desired texture. (Or maybe you guys have a recommendation for me? *hopeful*)

There was a silver lining from these grass jelly tests though...

I had grass jelly in many ways, such as:

Grass jelly with ice and honey

Grass jelly and milk

Grass jelly and soy milk

Grass jelly and milk coffee

But the best one is a recipe by my dad 😂
Have you ever tried 100 Plus grass jelly?

I was super skeptical but it didn't stop me from trying. With some squeezed lime, this was actually super refreshing. The 100 plus adds some nice fizz to it. 

HOW TO: Cube your grass jelly into desired size, add some 100 plus (ours was the zero sugar one but the regular one probably works too). Add lime for extra zest. ✨ 

Thanks for reading! If you do try the recipe, let me know what you think!