Like mentioned in previous blogs, Herbal Grass Jelly is not only loved in Vietnam but also many neighbouring countries. Today, let’s venture a bit further into the East with one of the best oriental desserts - Icy Grass Jelly - from Taiwan.
If you’ve ever been to your local China Town, you might have seen this dessert before - a bowl of taro balls and grass jelly (and red beans, black beans and all the other countless combinations), mixed with milk. This signature dessert has introduced Meet Fresh (a Taiwanese dessert chain) to the world and if you are a fan of it or just simply interested by its colourful and fun texture, let's recreate it at home with this brand new recipe from Jelly Bird.
What you will need:
Though it has many variations, the most popular (and perhaps original) Meet Fresh recipe has two main combinations: Taro balls and Grass Jelly. With Jelly Bird, you've already got the best of jellies ready so we will move right on to the next main step. Making taro Balls at home might sound challenging, but it actually is quite fast and easy, and if you’re a fan of baking, it should be much simpler and fun.
In this recipe, we will be making three types of taro balls - purple, yellow and matcha. All you will need are purple sweet potatoes, the normal (aka yellow) sweet potatoes, some tapioca starch and sugar (optional, but recommended), and matcha powder. If you cannot find purple sweet potatoes in your local supermarket, then that’s no problem.
For the base, we will be using sweetened coconut milk to keep it authentic and simple.
Let's take notes of the ingredients:
- Herbal Grass Jelly
- Purple sweet potatoes (200gr)
- Sweet potatoes (400gr)
- Sugar (4 tbsp)
- Tapioca powder (3 tbsp)
- Matcha powder (3 tbsp)
- Coconut milk (50ml)
- Fresh milk (250ml)
- Condensed milk (30gr)
- Shredded fresh coconut (or dried coconut)
Alternatively, you could add in some other ingredients to your Meet Fresh, for example red beans, tapioca pearls or slices of fruits. You could also use oat milk or almond milk as you prefer.
Now, onto the next steps:
Despite its vibrant and fun looks, taro balls are super easy to make.
Step 1: Cut sweet potatoes into small pieces and steam them for 10 minutes. After that, you’d want to smash them up.
Step 2: For each of the taro ball variations, add in 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional, but recommended), then mix it will another tablespoon of tapioca powder. For the matcha balls, use the yellow sweet potato mix with an extra pinch of matcha powder.
Step 3: Knead the three combinations into separate circular doughs with you hand or by using a mixer for 5 to 10 minutes. Divide each of the dough into equal pieces, shape them into thin logs and then chop them up into dices.
Step 4: In boiling water, put the taro dices in and cook until they float.
If you've got to here, good news is the hardest part is now finished and you have your three different types of taro balls ready to be munch on. In the summer, you can strain the balls into ice water before mix all of them together with an extra tablespoon of sugar. In the winter, you can just serve the taro balls warm as they are.
Step 5: Onto the base, and this should be very easy. Simply mix 250ml of fresh milk, 50ml of coconut milk and 30ml of condensed milk (optional) and you are ready to go.
Step 6: To serve, mix Grass Jelly which has been cut into cubes and taro balls into a bowl, pour in the coconut milk base and garnish with some shredded coconut, and you are all done. During summer, you can add more ice into the bowl. If you prefer it hot on a winter day, you can simply heat up the milk base before adding it to the bowl.
And that is it, now you can enjoy a favourite Taiwanese dessert, all made in your own kitchen in less than 30 minutes. A sweet treat that is suitable for anytime of the day, any season of the year, and for any fans of oriental desserts!