Three Ways to Make Chia Pudding

Three Ways to Make Chia Pudding

Hi Cumin Beings, it’s Janani here from Cumin Nature, back after a long hiatus. I hope all of you had a wonderful summer! We had a spectacular summer with some big life events and personal growth moments, which took us away from the blog. But, we have missed you all and are so excited to be back. Before digging in, let me take a brief pause to update you all on the exciting happenings on our end.

At the top of the list of exciting things is that our very own Ranjani got married to her partner Deepak in the beginning of September. We planned their mostly DIY wedding in just four short months and it ended up perfection. We are so happy and thrilled for these two lovebirds, especially now that all the wedding planning is over!

Picture credit: Mat Schramm Photography (https://www.matschrammphoto.com/)

 

Another bit of good news is that the brains of this operation, our mother, got an awesome new job, coincidentally right as all the wedding planning frenzy began (how about that timing?!). With an intense training schedule at work and wedding planning in full force, our faithful chief Cumin Being was understandably a bit pre-occupied.

Picture credit: Mat Schramm Photography (https://www.matschrammphoto.com/)

 

What was I doing during this time, you may ask? When not engaged in my self-appointed role as head wedding planner, I was roaming the California wild, running around monuments in D.C., and lounging expertly on the couch.

In sum, all three Cumin Beings had a wonderful summer.

 

But, now that things have calmed down a bit, we thought it was high time to turn our focus back to the blog. When we started thinking about what to do for our first recipe back in the game, we thought back to the amazing experiences we’ve had that kept us away. One of the best parts of Ranjani’s wedding was the food. We spent many weeks after the wedding re-visiting the wonderful memories, particularly of all the great food we ate. One item that kept coming back to us was the chia pudding that was one of the dessert options at the welcome dinner at Beatrix Chicago. It was served in a small little cup, just enough to pop in your mouth for a delectable morsel of goodness. It was perfect – and our guests agreed!

Picture Credit: Padma Srinivas of https://thoughtcrumbs123.wordpress.com/

 

So, we decided to try out our very own Cumin Nature version of chia pudding to commemorate the best thing that happened to us this summer. We came up with not one, but three recipes for you all to try out! As you know, the three of us love healthy eating, but we also love our desserts. The wonderful thing is that chia seed pudding gives you both! Chia seeds have a massive amount of healthy nutrients, including a large amount of fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, and B3, and potassium, at very few calories.  In addition to all this, chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, good carbohydrates and protein that make it great for weight loss, omega-3 fatty acids (which are hard to get for vegetarians!), and health benefits (such as in reducing blood sugar and inflammation and improving bone health). These seeds are no joke and it’s no surprise that they are considered a superfood. We put our Cumin brains together and came up with three chia pudding recipes.

 

Classic Chia Pudding.

The classic chia pudding recipe involves combining milk (dairy or non-dairy), chia seeds, and a sweetener of your choice. Mix it well to ensure the chia seeds do not clump together, leave it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, and bam, you have a pudding. You can top it with fruit, nuts, or for a fancy dessert, a fruit coulis! I’ve eaten this for breakfast, dessert, and a mid-afternoon snack. The details of this classic recipe are below. In this recipe, we used almond milk, but you can add any milk of your choice. I’ve recently discovered Califia Farms’ Almond Milk, which is Carrageenan-free and tastes great! I added agave syrup as our sweetener. I like the moderate sweetness of agave syrup and its low glycemic index (and, this is what I had in the house), but given it is high in fructose content, you might want to opt for maple syrup. The same proportion would apply if you use maple syrup.

Once we created the classic chia pudding, we realized that it would be a perfect vehicle for Indian flavors. So, we came up with two Indian-inspired chia pudding recipes.

 

Badam Kheer Chia Pudding.

The first Indian-inspired chia pudding we tried out was an adaptation of Badam Kheer. Badam kheer is a rich, creamy dessert that is made of milk, almonds (or, badam), cardamom, and saffron. We thought, since we are thinking about healthy desserts to satisfy our sweet teeth, why not use chia pudding as a vehicle to carry one of our favorite South Indian desserts? For this recipe, we infused dairy milk with the classic Badam Kheer flavors and then added the chia seeds to this concoction for a wonderfully delectable healthy version of kheer + chia.

 

South Indian Lentil Chia Pudding.

We thought that the best things come in three, so we sat down to think about how else to incorporate Indian flavors to chia pudding. This brought us to wonder, could we make a savory chia pudding? While the main intent of this exercise was to satisfy that sweet tooth, we also realized that a lot of the health benefits of chia seeds are similar to the health benefits of many lentil-based South Indian dishes. So, we put our brains together and came up with a kootu-inspired chia pudding. Kootu is a South Indian lentil-based dish spiced with roasted urad dhal, channa dhal, and red chilis. We decided to spice our milk and chia pudding mixture with these roasted lentils for a bowl of pudding that is chalk full of amazing nutrients and protein. In this recipe, we used coconut milk as our milk-substitute. Also, quick note, we use an ingredient called asafetida (or hing), which is a plant that is sold in powdered form. It is used in South Indian cuisine to provide an umami-like flavor and is great for digestion. You can find it in your local Indian store or on Amazon (see here).

Check these out and let us know what you think! We would love your feedback.

 

Classic Chia Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Chill
2 hrs
 


Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2.25 cups Carrageenan-free almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a mason jar in following order: chia seeds, milk, sweetener, vanilla extract.

  2. Stir vigorously for 1 minute, making sure to break apart the chia seeds.

  3. Wait 2 minutes and repeat.

  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before eating.

  5. Serve it cold with fruit and nut toppings of your choice. I used dried banana, coconut shavings, blueberries, and chopped almonds and cashews.

Recipe Notes

You can use any milk (dairy or non-dairy) of your choice.

Badam Kheer Chia Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Soak almonds
1 hr
Total Time
15 mins
 
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup almonds peeled
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar (add 4-5 tbsp if you like it a little sweeter)
  • 12-15 strands saffron
  • 2.25 cups dairy milk
  • 6 tbsp chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight. If you don’t have the time, soak them for an hour in boiling hot water. Once soaked, drain the water and peel all the almonds.

  2. Remove the seeds from the four cardamom pods.

  3. Add the almonds, cardamom seeds, sugar, and ¼ cup of the milk to a blender. Blend until you have a semi-thick almond paste.

  4. To a saucepan, add the remaining milk and heat it on a low to medium flame. Add the saffron.

  5. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the almond paste.

  6. Stir and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, switch off the flame and remove it from heat.

  7. Let it cool down to room temperature.

  8. In a mason jar, add 6 tbsp chia seeds and the cooled down badam kheer.

  9. Stir vigorously for 1 minute, making sure to break apart the chia seeds.

  10. Wait 2 minutes and repeat.

  11. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before eating.

  12. Serve it warm or cold with toppings of your choice. I served it sliced almonds and cinnamon.

South Indian Lentil Chia Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
Chia Pudding
  • 6 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2.25 cups coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup spice paste
Spice Paste
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1/2 tsp urad dhal
  • 1/2 tsp channa dhal
  • 5 almonds soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
Spice Paste
  1. Start by preparing the spice paste.

  2. In a small pan, heat the olive oil and asafoetida.

  3. When the asafoetida starts to sizzle, add the next three ingredients in the following order: red chili, urad dhal, then channa dhal.

  4. Let it cool, then in a blender, add the dhal mixture, almonds, and ½ cup water. Blend to create a ¼ cup of the spice paste.

Assemble Chia Pudding
  1. In a mason jar, add the chia seeds, milk, turmeric, and the spice paste.

  2. Stir vigorously for 1 minute, making sure to break apart the chia seeds.

  3. Wait 2 minutes and repeat.

  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before eating.

  5. Serve it warm with toppings of your choice. I served it with salted and roasted pumpkin seeds. You could top with kale chips or roasted vegetables (like asparagus).

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