Chocolate Soufflé is a very dear dish that I used to make previous to marriage. My brother, Sree used to love this so much. And since I used to make it with gelatin, I never tasted it. But I knew it must’ve been rich and so delicious. There were many a happy days spent making this for him. Well, not just him, but Amma used to like it a lot too. I used to buy all those raw things needed and have made these in late nights or early mornings. I really don’t remember how many times, I must’ve made these.
But after marriage, I found hubby dear wasn’t very keen on this. And marriage brought in so many things, that we don’t have enough time to indulge in those good old memories. These took the backseat and I haven’t made these in a long time. Of course, now hubby dear likes whatever I make. And also seeing that Konda loves chocolate of any type, I thought I should try it once again and relive those wonderful times spent in parents home. With this came the want of tasting it. And I remembered China Grass or Agar Agar.
Agar or agar agar is a gelatinous substance chiefly used as a culture medium for microbial work. It is an unbranched polysaccharide obtained from the cell membrane of some species of red algae or seaweed. It can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, injellies, ice-cream and Japanese desserts such as anmitsu, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for paper sizing fabrics. The word agar comes from the Malay word agar-agar (meaning jelly). It is also known as kanten, agal-agal (Ceylon agar), or China grass. Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose. Agar polysaccharides serve as the primary structural support for the algae’s cell walls.
Agar-Agar is the sea’s natural gelatin. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. One then adds sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables, and pours the liquid into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer on a cake.Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as a great intestinal regulator. Its bulk quality is behind one of the latest fad diets in Asia, the a Kanten diet. Once ingested, kanten triples in size and absorbs water. This results in the consumer feeling more full. Recently this diet has received some press coverage in the United States as well. The diet has shown promise in obesity studies.
In Indian cuisine, agar agar is known as “China Grass” and is used for making desserts.
Condensed Milk – 400 gms
Coco powder – 3 tsp
Milk – 2 cups
Fresh Cream – 1 cup
China Grass – 4 tsp (Gelatin – 2 tsp)
Chocolate chips or just chocolates – 50 gms
Mixed nuts – 50 gms ( I used walnuts, almonds, cashewnuts, raisins)
Dissolve china grass in 1/2 cup water over a pan of hot water.
Add cocoa to 1 cup milk. Heat over a pan of hot water and make a smooth paste.
Add dissolved china grass, cocoa paste, rest of milk, chopped nuts and chocolate pieces to condensed milk. Mix well.
Whisk cream till stiff. Fold into the mixture. Pour the mixture into a soufflé dish and chill.
Serve decorated with stiffly beaten cream and chocolate curls.
Dissolve gelatin in 1/2 cup water over a pan of hot water.
For the first time in my life, I tasted this delicious dessert that I have been making over 10 years and it was worth all the wait. All because of china grass. Wish I have known about this long ago, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
Sending this to Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook. who is hosting this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn.