This is one of those desserts I wish I'd made ages ago and shared the recipe with you all. Its easy, its eggless and its delicious. This pudding forms the base for many desserts in Kerala and I have had this in many forms during my childhood.
China Grass or Agar Agar
The sis first mentioned this pudding to me saying that my niece made it for her Jain friend because the girl can't take eggs. The thickener of choice in this pudding is china grass or agar agar. Its a plant-based thickener derived from some form of algae (I wouldn't investigate too much into this if i were you) and is a vegetarian substitute for gelatin used mostly in desserts.
Because of where agar agar is derived from, this pudding is also called mousse pudding or moss pudding in Kerala! Interesting tid bit.
The pudding is best served with some topping and praline is the best fit, although some chocolate sauce or ganache would taste fab too. You can make it as sweet or subtle as you want, its completely up to you.
Adapted from a recipe verbally passed on to me, measurements are my own.
Eggless Condensed Milk China Grass / Agar Agar Pudding
Ingredients (can easily be doubled):
1/2 tin condensed milk (I used low fat Milkmaid)
1 tin milk (I used low fat milk measured in the condensed milk tin itself)
5 gm china grass / agar agar
Roughly 3/4 cup water
2 tbsp sugar, adjust to taste
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
How I Made It:
1. Soak the china grass in the 3/4 cup water for atleast 30 mins. Then place on stove on low heat and bring to boil.
2. Meanwhile, mix the condensed milk, sugar, and milk in a pan and heat on low heat stirring continuously.
3. When the china grass mixture starts boiling and the strands have dissolved almost completely, pour into the milk mixture. Bring this to boil, let it simmer for 2 more mins, and remove from fire.
4. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Pour into any mould of choice or even a wide bowl. Let it cool completely and refrigerate overnight (or atleast 6 hours) for the pudding to set.
5. Serve with praline or any sauce of choice.
I had Raks and Jeyashri over on Saturday for a potluck lunch and served them the pudding in the mould itself. If you try to unmould the pudding before giving it time to sit, it will look all haphazard like this but its still delicious!
Use this recipe as the base and customize as you like. You can layer it up with praline, jam, chocolate sauce, etc. You can also half the final mixture, add cocoa powder to one half and set it in alternating layers too. Thanks to akka for the tip :)
**Edited to add - I had scheduled this post over the weekend and was having a chat about it with akka. She mentioned that a couple of bloggers have posted this in the past. I checked out Maria's recipe and it seems like I have used measurements very similar to hers! Her topping recipe is different so you may want to check it out.