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Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

Sweets, Vietnamese

the blog:

A refreshing dessert that can be made with 2 ingredients, this Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert, is an absolute delight to have year-round but especially on hot days. It is highly customizable and can be topped with your favorite ingredients from fresh fruits to sweetened red bean paste and condensed bite making you fall in love with every bite!

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

Every year during summer break instead of traveling like my friends was with their family, I was not able to travel at all because of my dad’s work schedule. So you would pretty much find me at home with my mom and siblings, windows all opened and fans turned on in nearly all of the rooms. There would be days when it gets so hot that even after we showered, we would sweat 5 minutes later.

Ice cream, popsicles and all the soda were all in line on those hot, humid days, but something else my mom always had in our fridge was some sort of soup dessert, one of them being Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo). This is a highly customizable dessert so my mom often likes to make different variations to it like adding tapioca pearls, basil seeds, and lychee.

I have to confess that I wasn’t the biggest fan of grass jelly when I was little, it being a bit bland to me and not as sweet as American desserts. It is only until I am much older that I came to appreciate it, especially now. I like to simply add some fresh fruits like ripe mangoes and coconut milk with it. Sometimes, I would add sweetened red bean paste to it if I want something sweeter and some condensed milk. For this version, I added a milk tea base to the desert along with some ripe mangoes. You can for sure use any milk you prefer, especially coconut milk and any other toppings of choice.

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)
Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

Here is an overview of this Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert.

Now you might be wondering, what is grass jelly (sương sáo)?
Grass jelly, or Suong Sao, is a black gelatin made by boiling the leaves and stalks of the Chinese mesona plant along with starch and potassium carbonate leading to its gelatin form and texture.

Tastewise, grass jelly is a bit bland and sometimes has hints of bitterness to it if made from scratch. The jelly is then cut into cubes to be used in desserts like this and other drinks. Grass jelly became a popular ingredient due to its health benefits. It is believed that the grass jelly helps with detoxification, weight loss, and reducing blood pressure as it is considered as a “cooling” food to expel the excessive heat (“yang”) in your body. This is one of the main reasons why it is usually eaten on hot days in Asia.

Types of Grass Jelly
You can find grass jelly often canned, but you can also use powdered grass jelly- making it from scratch. Both of these can be found in Asian grocery stores, the canned version being the most common form. The ones in the canned are ready to be served right away. Once you open the canned, take it out like canned cranberry jelly and cut it into cubes.

The powdered grass jelly version requires some extra steps, cooking it from scratch. However, with this method, you can control the sweetness and firmness of the jelly by adding more sugar or water to it.

Both versions will be great! Choose based on your preference and time restraints.

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

Ingredients

Grass Jelly: You can use canned grass jelly or powdered ones in your local Asian grocery store. They should look something like this version.

Plant-Based Milk: You can use any plant-based milk of choice like coconut milk, soy milk or oat milk. For a richer and creamier taste, choose full-fat coconut milk.

Milk Tea: You can also use a milk-tea liquid base like I did for this version!

Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk: For extra sweetness and flavor, add ½-1 tablespoons of vegan sweetened condensed milk to your plant-based milk or top it at the end.

Toppings: Feel free to have fun with the toppings! Use any fresh fruits of choice like ripe mangoes, strawberries, ripe bananas/plantains, lychee, etc. You can also use sweetened red bean paste, tapioca pearls, basil seeds and ice cream too!

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

Tips

Is grass jelly gluten-free?
Yes! However, be sure to check the ingredients in the canned/powdered versions making sure there are no other additives or ingredients to it.

How do I store this Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert?
If you have any leftovers, store the remaining grass jelly drink in a pitcher or any airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.

What can I substitute the milk tea with?
Feel free to swap the milk tea base with any other plant-based milk of choice, especially with full-fat coconut milk.

What toppings can I use if I don’t want to use mangoes?
Have fun with the toppings! Use any fresh fruits you like such as strawberries, ripe bananas/plantains, lychee, etc. You can also use sweetened red bean paste, tapioca pearls, basil seeds and ice cream too!

What sweeteners can I use?
You can leave it unsweetened if you like. However, to sweeten the drink, use maple syrup, sweetened condensed, or brown/coconut sugar.

If you like this Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo), you might also like to try:
Vegan Chinese Snow Fungus Soup
Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns
Vegan Chinese Almond Cookies

I cannot wait for you to try this Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)! If you do, please tag me on Instagram @_withhelen or leave a comment below letting me know you like it!

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)
Print

Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert (Sương sáo)

A refreshing dessert that can be made with 2 ingredients, this Vietnamese Grass Jelly Dessert, is an absolute delight to have year-round but especially on hot days. It is highly customizable and can be topped with your favorite ingredients from fresh fruits to sweetened red bean paste and condensed bite making you fall in love with every bite!

  • Author: Helen Au
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

1 (19 oz) canned grass jelly, cubed

Milk Tea
2 black tea bags
125ml (½ cup) boiling water
300ml (~ 1 ¼ cup) plant-based milk of choice
(optional) 15g (1 tbsp) maple syrup

Toppings
1 large, ripe mangoes (or other fruits of choice), peeled and diced
Others: sweetened red bean paste, tapioca pearls, basil seeds, ice cream, etc.

Instructions

  1. Make the milk tea base. Add the black tea bags and boiling water to a cup and allow it to brew for 8 minutes. Strain the tea. Add in the plant-based milk of choice and maple syrup (optional), stirring until everything is combined. Taste and adjust the sweetness. Place in the fridge to chill.
  2. To a glass, add in some of the cubed, grass jelly and mangoes and any other toppings of choice. If you want it to be really cold, feel free to add in some ice cubes.
  3. Pour in some of the prepared milk tea. Enjoy!

Keywords: Vietnamese dessert, grass jelly, gluten-free, milk tea

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