Quench your thirst with this cool and refreshing Grass Jelly Drink (เฉาก๊วยนมสด) recipe. This herbal-infused beverage combines the distinct flavors of earthy grass jelly with pandan leaves water, brown sugar simple syrup, and milk, making it a fun and delightful drink to sip and enjoy on a hot summer day.
Use this easy recipe for the brown sugar simple syrup for this grass jelly drink. They are the perfect pair made for each other!
It's a perfect drink for sipping on hot summer days. Make your grass jelly from a powder, or use a store-bought belly. Two easy options to choose from!
Use canned grass jelly and customize your Grass Jelly Drink with your favorite ingredients for a quick and convenient version. Or use a packet version with pandan-infused water to elevate your grass jelly drink!
- Why you'll love this recipe
- What is a Grass Jelly Drink
- What is Grass Jelly?
- Health benefits of grass jelly
- Ingredients for Grass Jelly Drink Recipe
- How to Make Grass Jelly Drink
- Garnishing options
- Helpful kitchen notes and tips
- Helpful kitchen tools for this recipe
- What to serve with grass jelly drink
- Fun facts
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related recipes you'll love
- Grass Jelly Drink with Brown Sugar Syrup (เฉาก๊วยนมสด)
Grass jelly drink is a popular beverage enjoyed across Southeast Asia. Each culture has its versions, twists, flavors, and names. In Thailand, grass jelly drinks (เฉาก๊วยนมสด) are found in many coffee shops and stalls throughout the country.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Grass jelly is a natural plant that has tons of healthy benefits! And pandan leaf-infused water adds more health benefits.
- This delicious herb jelly can be served as a dessert. Impress your guests with a grass jelly dessert that makes them feel like they've traveled to Asia from your kitchen!
- A delicious and visually appealing way to stay refreshed. The black, white, and brown colors feel like you're drinking a fancy drink!
- Add coffee! Yes. This is my twist to the drink, but I love adding a shot of cold expresso to the grass jelly drink and oat milk for an afternoon pick-me-up!
- A unique and herbal twist on traditional cold drinks. Make it healthy using monk fruit sugar, honey, agave, or natural sweeteners!
- A delightful blend of textures. The grass jelly is a fun texture to add to drinks, much like boba pearls in bubble tea.
- It can be customized in different ways with various sweet fruits and flavors. Melons, mangoes, young coconut meat, or peaches are a great addition to the drink.
What is a Grass Jelly Drink
A Grass Jelly Drink is a popular beverage in Asian countries. It's believed to have originated from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and southern China. It features the main ingredient, grass jelly, known as "Suong Sao" in Vietnamese and "Xian Cao" in Chinese.
Grass jelly is an herbal jelly with a distinct herbal flavor, earthy notes, and a mildly bitter taste, often balanced with sweet components like brown sugar syrup, coconut milk, and various toppings. My recipe uses pandan leave-infused water for added aroma and sweet fragrance of pandan.
What is Grass Jelly?
Grass jelly is a type of jelly that is made using a thickening agent called agar agar, which is derived from seaweed. It is made from a Chinese mesona herb, scientifically known as Mesona chinensis. This herb is boiled, strained, and mixed with agar to create a gel-like substance that solidifies into a jelly. Grass jelly is commonly known as black jelly due to its dark color. It is often used in desserts and drinks, adding a unique texture and flavor.
Health benefits of grass jelly
Grass jelly, also known as leaf jelly or herb jelly, offers several health benefits that make it the best thing to include in your diet. One of its key advantages is its ability to lower blood pressure. Consuming grass jelly in different ways, such as in desserts or drinks, can help regulate blood pressure levels. Additionally, it contains essential nutrients like fiber and antioxidants, which support overall well-being. So, whether you enjoy it as a refreshing beverage or a tasty dessert ingredient, grass jelly can be a delicious and health-promoting addition to your diet.
Ingredients for Grass Jelly Drink Recipe
Below are the key ingredients for making this simple grass jelly drink. Two key ingredients you'll need to find at the Asian markets are grass jelly, power or canned, and pandan leaves—the rest you can grab at your local markets.
- Water. You'll need a few cups of water for making the jelly and brown sugar simple syrup.
- Grass jelly. Use grass jelly powder or canned grass jelly. The canned version is even quicker and easier to use. Either option is completely fine. I wanted to infuse my grass jelly with pandan flavors, so I used the powder form instead. The canned jelly adds no sugar, so it's a good substitute.
- Pandan leaves, fresh or frozen. Find them at the Asian market in the produce or frozen section. Fresh leaves are more difficult to find. Frozen leaves are sold in vacuum-sealed bags.
- Milk. I used creamy oat milk for my recipe, but you can use any choice. Half and half or evaporated milk can be used as partial creamy to sweeten the drink if desired.
- Brown sugar syrup or simple syrup. The brown sugar adds a deep caramelized taste to the grass jelly drink. However, substitute any sweetener or simple syrup like Tom Yum Herbal simple syrup.
- Ice cubes. Use crushed or regular ice for an added refreshing chill drink.
How to Make Grass Jelly Drink
There are two options for making grass jelly. Both options are excellent, and it's up to your personal preference. The detailed instructions below are for the powdered jelly since it's more involved. (Not too much!).
Option 1. Using the canned version, open them, remove the jelly, and slice it into small pieces for use. This option is when you are short on time and want a refreshing drink.
Option 2. Using a packet of grass jelly powder. This option is when you want to make something special with added pandan leaves infused in the water that will be used to mix with the grass jelly powder.
Let's get started on this simple but tasty drink!
Step 1: Prepare the grass jelly mixture: Using the powdered packet, remove all the bags from the packet and place them in a medium glass bowl. Then add 1 cup of water to the powder and whisk together.
You'll have a thick black textured jelly that looks all mushy. Don't worry, it's normal. Set aside until the pandan-infused water is ready.
*If you have a small sugar packet included in your powder. Feel free to use it or toss it. It just adds more sugar to your drink, so you may need to adjust the sweetness of your drink before serving.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, add the pandan leaves and bring 3 cups of water to a gentle boil. Remove the pandan leaves, but do not throw them away. In the later steps, we will reuse it to make brown sugar simple syrup.
Step 3: Add the grass jelly mixture to the hot water, stirring often until the jelly melts into a thick watery consistency. Continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
Step 4. Pour the black jelly into a glass bowl and allow it to cool completely. You'll get a thick gelatin jelly at this point. Tips* place the jelly glass in a pan of cold or iced bath water to speed up the cooling process.
Step 5: Make the brown sugar simple syrup while letting the jelly cools to room temperature. Add 1 cup water to 1 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan. Add in the used pandan leaves and bring everything to a boil on medium heat.
Simmer and stir often for 10 minutes until you have a deep caramelized brown syrup. Turn the heat off and let it cool.
Step 6: Check on the jelly. It should be hardened to a bouncy jello-like texture. Use a knife to slice into the jelly and slice them into small pieces for the drink. If planning on using large straws to drink from, slice the jelly into small cubes.
I find this part the most satisfying and fun. It's like playing with a play dough and full of sensory inputs! (:
Step 7: Assemble the drink: In a glass, place grass jelly cubes, add the brown sugar, simple syrup, ice, and more grass jelly, and then pour in the milk. Alternate between ingredients as you'd like. Play and have fun! Drizzle with more simple syrup or a dash of brown sugar to top it off if desired.
Step 6: Adjust the flavors with more brown sugar, simple syrup, or milk. Gently stir to combine all the flavors and textures. Use a large straw to get the jelly pieces through. That's it! Enjoy!
For an extra indulgence, top your Grass Jelly Drink with fresh fruit slices, shaved ice, or a scoop of ice cream.
Helpful kitchen notes and tips
- Grass jelly powder can be found in Asian grocery stores or online shops.
- If you are lucky, get fresh glass jelly from the refrigerator section from your Asian markets or a Chinese market with more ingredients tailored to East Asian cuisine.
- Use monk fruit sugar for a healthier and guilt-free option. Honey or agave or also great as sweeteners.
- Use natural sweeteners to make it healthier. Use monk fruit, agave, maple syrup, or honey as substitutes.
Helpful kitchen tools for this recipe
- A small saucepan for cooking the grass jelly mixture.
- A whisk
- Heat-safe glass bowl
- Tall drinking glasses
What to serve with grass jelly drink
- Grass Jelly Drink is a sweet dessert-like beverage that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with other Asian treats.
- For a unique twist, experiment with different toppings such as fresh fruit, a sprinkle of brown sugar, boba pearls, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, pandan extract, or banana essence.
- Use a variety of milk alternatives, such as soybean milk, almond milk, or oat milk.
- Add some fruit juice to mix things up a bit. Use sweet fruit juices like lychee, logan, or coconut juice.
- Some variations of this recipe use cooked and sweetened red beans and taro balls for added texture and sweetness to the drink. Both items can be found in Asian markets.
Instead of grass jelly powder, you can use canned grass jelly or herbal jelly in liquid form.
The grass jelly mixture can be prepared and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Assemble the drink with toppings and milk just before serving.
In Malaysia and Singapore, the grass jelly drink is called the Michael Jackson drink, as per his song Black or White song!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, canned grass jelly is a time-saving option that doesn't compromise flavor.
Absolutely. Experiment with your preferred kind of milk to find your perfect combination.
Grass jelly is revered for its herbal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for potential health benefits.
Yes, you can use brown sugar, cane sugar, or even palm sugar syrup for a different level of sweetness.
Grass jelly is an herbal dessert, while boba tea (bubble tea) features tapioca pearls and various flavors of tea.
Related recipes you'll love
- Boba blue milk tea
- Mango Bubble Tea: Indulge in this delightful boba drink's rich and creamy mango flavors.
- Tamarind Iced tea is a tangy, sweet drink made from tamarind paste and black tea.
- Thai iced coffee
- Thai green tea
Embrace the flavors and textures of Grass Jelly Drink, a sweet and refreshing Asian beverage that's a fantastic way to cool down during hot days. Whether you enjoy it as a dessert-like treat or as a creative take on herbal drinks, this recipe captures the essence of traditional Asian flavors. It offers a delightful and memorable experience for your taste buds.Print
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]: