China Grass

Yes, you’re right. This is a very silly name for a pudding. I included it because I wanted to confuse you. In case you’re interested, China grass is another name for agar agar, which is available from Asian grocers. The pudding itself is similar to the Italian panacotta.

  • 300ml (10 fl oz) Double Cream
  • 4 tbsp Sugar or to taste
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp Agar Agar Flakes
  • 2 pinches Ground Cardamom
  • 2 pinches Ground Nutmug
  • 2 pinches Ground Strands
  • 2 tsp Almonds slivered (optional)
  • 2 tsp Pistachios slivered (optional)

Serves 4

Put the double cream, the sugar and the milk into a saucepan. Sprinkle over the agar agar flakes evenly on the surface of the liquid. Place on the heat and bring to the boil – avoid stirring as this will prevent you from assessing whether the flakes have dissolved or not. Simmer for 10 minutes or so on a medium-to-low heat, stirring occassionally until the flakes have disappeared from the liquid. It is important that you cook the mixture until the agar agar flakes are fully dissolved or the China grass will not set. Now boil the mixture fairly hard for 1 minute, being careful not to cause the contents of the pan to overflow. Remove the pan from the heat and add a pinch of cardamom and nutmeg.

Pour the mixture into a shallow Pyrex dish or into individual moulds, Sprinkle on the rest of the cardamom and nutmeg with the saffron and the nuts (if using). Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature and then put in the refrigerator until set, which takes up to 1.5 hours. To serve, cut the mixture into diamond shapes, or serve in the individual moulds.

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