This month’s Let’s Lunch theme is Three Ingredient Recipes. Read on to see what I’ve cooked up…
Ch-ch-ch Chia Pet!
If you were a latchkey kid in the 1980s, that jingle is seared into your mind, like commercials for K-Tel oldies. After school, I would do homework while plopped in front of the TV, watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island. My idea of a healthy snack was Cool Ranch Doritos, or perhaps some sugar-free Jell-O. *shudder*
The catchy jingle would blast from our old Magnavox, and I’d look up from my trigonometry to see the terra-cotta dog or turtle figurines that magically sprouted green “fur”. I’d shake my head and wonder who would buy such a thing.
I never grew a Chia Pet myself, although my husband once received one in a gift exchange. And aside from the occasional gag gift, I never gave much thought to chia seeds. Then I read an article about Gwyneth Paltrow. You know, the kind of celebrity interview you can’t resist reading, if only to remind yourself that even if you aren’t rich and famous, at least you have some common sense. The article listed one of her favorite foods as chia pudding, a miserable looking concoction of seeds suspended in some kind of goop. Consciously, or unconsciously, I remembered that in the 1960s and 70s, chia seeds were heralded as some kind of hippie superfood, and that the Chia Pet arose after the seeds fell out of favor for nutritional purposes.
Then one day my husband came home with two pouches full of the tiny black seeds. It seemed he had jumped on the chia seed bandwagon. I decided to give them a try, making first a simple pudding with chia seeds, coconut milk, agave syrup and a little vanilla extract. Not bad, but a bit plain. The texture reminded me a little of tapioca pudding, which then reminded me of the luscious mango puddings that are often served for dessert in Chinese restaurants.
I was pretty sure that all I’d need to add was some canned mango puree (found in Indian or Asian markets) and it would make a good rendition of that restaurant treat. The first time I made it, I just mixed equal parts mango puree, coconut milk and sprinkled in chia seeds. Pretty good, but the mixture was a bit chunky. That was easily fixed the next try by giving the mango puree a quick whirl in the food processor to smooth out larger bits.
So laugh all you want… I’ll be enjoying my mango chia pudding.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding
1 c. unsweetened coconut milk
1 c. mango puree
1/2 c. chia seeds
- Quickly pulse mango puree in a food processor or blender, to remove any chunks or stringiness. This makes for a more attractive pudding.
- Stir together mango puree and coconut milk in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Add chia seeds and combine thoroughly.
- Cover and chill for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.