How to Make Grass Jelly and Grass Jelly (Mesona) Tea
Mesona 仙草, more commonly known as Grass Jelly in English, is an herb in the mint family that’s been fermented and dried like oolong tea. Though known as Grass Jelly, it’s actually boiled to make tea first. If desired, the tea is then set into jelly with a starch or other setting agent.
Roughly 14 cups of Mesona Tea
You may halve the recipe, but we don’t recommend going below that simply because the quantity of liquid will be a bit small compared to the bulk of the herb.
Mesona Tea can be stored in the fridge for up to a week
1 Pack of Yun Hai Grass Jelly Herb (3.97 oz or 112.5 g)
19 Cups of Water (150 fl. oz or 4.5 liters)
Sugar or Honey, to taste
For other quantities, here's an easy formula to calculate how much Mesona you need:
Amount of Tea Desired in ml / 28 = Grams of Mesona Needed
(e.g. for 2800 ml of tea, 2800/28 = 100 grams of Mesona)
Alternatively, use 40 ml of water for every gram of Mesona.
Expect about 1/3 of the water to evaporate during cooking.
Cheesecloth, Muslin Bag, or Fine Strainer
1. Rinse the herbs in a colander or bowl under running water.
2. Add herb and water to a large pot, keeping as much of the herb submerged as possible and trimming the herb if needed to fit in the pot.
3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 2 hours to extract the flavor and starches of the herb. For a stronger flavor and darker color, simmer optionally for up to 8-12 hours.
(Tip: Don't have time? Leave the pot covered and simmer in intervals.)
4. Remove from heat and allow leaves to steep, covered, for an additional 30 minutes or until room temp. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, cheesecloth, or muslin bag to remove any sediment.
5. At this stage, you can enjoy it as a Mesona Tea 仙草茶 (hot or cold), adding sugar or honey to taste. Or, turn the tea into grass jelly in the next recipe. We recommend doing half and half.
To Set into Jelly
Mesona tea can be turned into grass jelly using gelatin, agar agar, or another jelling agent of your choice. Just follow the instructions on the packet, substituting Mesona tea for water. You'll also want to add the sweetener of your choice, to taste.
Mix the jelly with fruit, Adzuki or mung beans, tapioca balls, or taro and sweet potato balls. Then, top with brown sugar syrup and cream or condensed milk for a delicious dessert.
Or, prepare a beverage we lovingly call “mesona au jus” - mix the grass jelly with mesona tea, ice, and simple syrup to taste. Serve in a tall glass and drink with a big straw or a spoon.
More serving suggestions to come!