Ersatz Calamansi Lime Shaved Ice with Grass Jelly Recipe

Robyn Lee

You can find canned calamansi lime juice drinks online and in well-stocked Southeast Asian groceries. If you do, feel free to use them straight for the shaved ice (a granita, really) instead of this recipe, with no added sugar.

Black grass jelly, a gel made with the extract of a Chinese variety of mint, can be found in cans in Asian groceries, and is best served chilled. Leftover jelly can be stored in the refrigerator, covered.

The more shallow the ice base is in the container, the quicker it will freeze, so use a wide tupperware or baking pan, or several smaller ones.

Recipe Facts

Active: 4 to 6 hrs
Total: 0 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from about 4 oranges
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice from about 9 limes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest from 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest from 1 lime
  • For serving:
  • 1 (19-ounce) can chilled black grass jelly
  • Sweetened condensed milk


  1. Combine orange and lime juices with water, stir in sugar to taste until sugar dissolves. Base should not be especially sweet, but should have enough sugar to tone down the tartness of the citrus. Pour through a strainer into a wide, shallow container (preferably one with a lid) and stir in orange and lime zest. Cover, and place level in freezer on coldest setting.

  2. After 1 hour, remove from freezer and scrape up ice crystals that form around edges; stir crystals back into base. Return to freezer.

  3. Every 20 to 30 minutes, quickly remove container from freezer and stir up large ice crystals. Do so until ice is completely dry with no pockets of syrup, 4 to 6 hours.

  4. To serve, spoon ice into a small bowl or martini glass and top with spoonfuls of grass jelly and 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of condensed milk.

Special equipment

Wide, shallow container, preferably with a lid

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