Chè Sương Sa Hạt Lựu

RECIPE:  Chè Sương Sa Hạt Lựu (Agar-Agar with Imitation Pomegranate Seeds Dessert)
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Ingredients
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For Syrup - Nước Đường
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water
2 Pandan Leaves, optional

For Mung Bean Paste - Đậu Xanh Đánh
1 cup Peeled and Split Mung Bean
1/4 cup Sugar, for mung bean
2 cups Water, for mung bean
1 Pandan Leave, tied together

For Jelly - Sương Sa
1 bag Agar-Agar Powder - 25 grams or .88oz
7  cups Water, for agar-agar

For Imitation Pomegranate - Hạt Lựu
1 can Chestnut - 20 oz
1-2 cups Tapioca Starch
Red Food Color

For Coconut Sauce
1 can of coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract or Pandan Leave, tied together
1 tablespoon Water + 1 teaspoon Tapioca Flour, mixed well
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Making Syrup 
Combine sugar, water and pandan leaves (recommended) in a pot.  Bring it to boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer it until the syrup is thickened.  Keep it in fridge to chill.
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Making Jelly
Combine agar-agar and water.  Mix it well.  Bring it to boil.  Make sure to stir it constantly.  Remove from heat.  Pour it into a bowl.  Let it cool down and place it in the fridge to keep it cold.  Cut jelly into strips. Set it aside in the fridge to keep it cold. 
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Making Mung Bean Paste
Wash and rinse mung bean a few times until the water is clear.  Bring water, pandan leave and mung bean to boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cook it with lid on for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Add sugar.  Use a wooden spatula to smash the mung bean into paste.  Set it aside.
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Making Imitation Pomegranate
Wash and rinse water chestnut.  Dice the water chestnut into small cubes about the size of  the pomegranate seeds.  Add  red food coloring and a tablespoon or two of water and mix until chestnut cubes cover with red.

Place a layer of tapioca starch into a large bowl with lid. Use a strainer to scoop one batch of water chestnut and place in the tapioca starch bowl. Add tapioca starch to the water chestnut then cover it with lid and  shake it  off.  If needed,  add more tapioca starch to the water chestnut until it is evenly coated.  Pour it into a colander and shake excess off. 

Bring a pot of water to boil.   Prepare a bowl of ice water on a side.  Once the water boil add one batch at a time of  tapioca-chestnut mixture to the pot.   Use a pair of chopstick to separte the imitation pomegranate seeds to prevent them from sticking together if needed.

Once pomegranate seeds float to the top, scoop it up with a strainer, rinse with cold water. Place pomegranate seeds in the ice water bowl to cool. Remove pomegranate seeds from ice water once it has cooled.  Repeat with remaining batch of water chestnut.
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Making Coconut Sauce
If using pandan leave, tie it into a short string. Bring the sugar, salt, pandan leave and coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tapioca flour mixture and stir it at the same time. Add vanilla extract if you don't use panda leave. Pour coconut sauce into a bowl and set aside.
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Presentation
In a glass or a glass bowl, assemble a layer of suong sa, mung bean and a layer of pomegranate seeds.  Fill it with the syrup and coconut milk.   Top with shaved ice or without if all the ingredients are cold enough.  Stir to mix and enjoy!

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