Guest Author - Preena Deepak
Ramzan is a holy month when Muslims fast all through the day and eat only during the night. Several special diets are followed during this time of fasting and China grass pudding or seaweed halwa is an important item on the menu in South India. It is one of the dishes consumed to break the fast on each day of the month of Ramzan.
China grass or agar agar or Ceylon moss from which the pudding or halwa is made has several health benefits attached to it. It is low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. It is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and vitamins. Due to its healthy attributes, China grass dessert is often preferred to shed weight and stay fit too.
Extracted from red seaweeds, China grass is a vegetable gelatin with a neutral taste and no flavor of its own. It acts as a thickening agent for soups and is used as a quick setting base for preparing jellies, pudding and desserts. China grass is used as a laxative too.
China grass can be obtained as strands or in a powdered form. It can be combined with milk, water or even tender coconut water and garnished with a selection of nuts and dry fruits. Here is one easy to make China grass pudding prepared using tender coconut water.
China grass/ Agar agar - 5 gm
Water - 2 cups
Sugar - 5 spoons
Coconut water from 4 tender coconuts
Coconut kernel cut fine - 1 cup
Sharbat, Nannari Syrup* - 1 cup
1)Heat water in a pan along with sugar and keep stirring till the sugar dissolves completely.
2)Now add China grass and keep stirring till all the strands dissolve completely leaving no lumps.
3)Remove from the fire and add the Sharbat, Nannari syrup.
4)Blend in the tender coconut water and pour this mixture in small cups or in a pudding mold.
5)Add the cut coconut kernel bits and allow the mix to cool.
6)Refrigerate and enjoy delicious seaweed halwa!
*Nannari syrup (sharbat) is made from the Indian herb sarasaparilla and can be purchased from ayurvedic shops.
China grass pudding can also be made by blending in coconut milk. However when made as above with tender coconut water, the seaweed preparation tends to cool the body and is especially good for those fasting all through the day during Ramzan.
You can buy China grass strands here
Roland Agar Strips, White, 3-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)
If you'd like to use China grass powder instead, you can click on the link below
Agar Agar Powder