Desperation is the mother of invention. What else would drive you to combine green peas, agar agar/China grass and coconut milk? This bears no relation to the traditional pease pudding which is made with yellow split peas and served with ham or bacon. Going by the majority of the ingredients, it could be more South-East Asian than anything else. But really, it is just the product of a fevered imagination.
Two days away was the deadline for MLLA 52 that I'm hosting for Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, and I still had not zeroed in on a dish. I didn't want to make any of the routine stuff because I didn't want to have to sit and eat it. What if it bored me? I had heard of green pea burfi (fudge-like) too, but I didn't want to have to use any elbow grease - burfi has to be stirred and watched over.
Among the entries I had got so far, chick peas had been used. So had rajma. There's a green pea entry too, but along with the rest, they were mostly savoury dishes. And I badly wanted mine to be different because I didn't want to be a host in name alone but in spirit too. And I had some agar agar needing to be used up.
I looked up instructions on the proportions of water and agar agar needed for the latter to gel the former. It seemed to be 5 gm for just a little under 1 litre of water, so I set about making it yesterday before leaving for work.
I kept it in the fridge and hit upon the idea of the topping only much later. I had decided not to use any other flavouring but when I tasted it, it seemed a little bland, except for the taste of pea. But I didn't really fancy the idea of garnishing it saffron or with raisins and cashews. I went for sesame instead, and then I spied a packet of poppy seed. I toasted a tablespoon of each and sprinkled it on the pudding. It really lifted the taste and lent it texture too.
This morning, I messaged my friend S asking her if she wanted to try a mystery pudding - I had to know what others thought of it before I put it up on the blog. I was prepared to confess, of course, that it was 'peasy' but I thought I'd check anyway. My friend S is a big foodie and I knew she'd be sporting enough to play a guessing game.
When the afternoon rolled around, she came over and I gave her the plate in which I'd set the pudding and asked her to guess. Cucumber and pista were among her first guesses but they weren't right.
I dismissed all her guesses so finally she asked if she could smell it.
She couldn't smell anything. (Neither could I.)
Then she tasted it. She still couldn't taste anything green. I was relieved to know she couldn't taste any green pea because I doubt most people would be drawn to it if it tasted peasy. I guess it smelt that way to me because I was too close to the whole affair.
Or maybe the sesame-poppy seed topping helped mask it.
What you need
Green peas, frozen: 1 cup
Agar agar/China Grass: 5 gm
Coconut milk: 200 ml
Coconut sugar: 25-50 gm (I used a block, not loose) (You can use ordinary sugar too)
More coconut sugar/white sugar (optional): 2 tsp
Water: 1 cup
Sesame seed and poppy seed: 1 tbsp each
How to proceed
Soak the agar agar for at least 15 minutes in the water.
Heat the coconut sugar in less than 1/4 cup of water to get it to soften/melt.
Microwave the green peas till half done in less than 1/4 cup water. Cool and grind into as smooth a paste as you can.
Boil the soaked agar agar with the water. Once it comes to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for about 10-15 minutes till the agar agar strands have melted completely.
To this add the softened/melted coconut sugar.
Stir once and add the green pea paste.
Mix well and turn off the heat.
Add the coconut milk and mix gently.
Check for taste and add the white sugar or more coconut sugar if you want to.
Pour into a shallow rimmed plate and leave it to set. As it's agar agar, it even sets without a refrigerator, and quite rapidly.
After it's firm enough (after about 2 hours, just to be safe), it's ready to eat.
Sprinkle the sesame-poppy seed garnish on it. It unmoulded easily after it was cut into pieces.
My Legume Love Affair Green Peas Agar Agar/China Grass vegan