Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tropical Chia Pudding

Blogging Marathon #74 Week 4 Day 3
Theme: Are you Pudding me?
Dish: Tropical Chia Pudding

A delicious Chia and fruit based breakfast pudding that takes only a few minutes to make; is super delicious and Vegan too! 


Weekend is here and I am posting a special recipe that is perfect for weekend brunch. This week I am posting Puddings in the Blogging Marathon. Yesterday it was an Indian style Kesar Kheer that is perfect as a dessert.

Today it is time for another pudding. I was planning to make Chia Pudding since a long time. It was perfect for the theme and so I made it for Saturday breakfast. I told my husband that breakfast is going to be a pudding; and he was pretty amused! Not very common to have pudding for breakfast, right?

This one is made for breakfast! It has all the things that are good for you and free from ingredients you should not have early morning. Chia seeds are the seeds of Salvia Hispanica a plant related to mint. Native to South America, these seeds were important to Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. Infact, Chia means 'strength' in Mayan. 


These seeds have gained importance and status of superfood in recent times. All the stores are stocked with these tiny black seeds and suddenly everyone has included it in their pantry essentials list! I too joined the bandwagon, with chia seeds now being a part of my monthly grocery shopping. Put it in oats, have it as a pudding or replace it for sabja (Basil seeds) in Indian delicacies. 

Yesterday I made this Chia pudding with tropical fruits. I had a batch of roasted strawberries in my refrigerator. So I used them with kiwi and mangoes. Not only were  the colors perfect for the black and white pudding, the sweetness of mango and roasted strawberries was amazing with the slightly tart kiwi fruit. 

Now that I liked this version of the pudding, I think I am going to make it more often. It is perfect for weekday breakfast, just set the pudding the previous day and serve it with fresh fruits the next day. The time required to serve it in the morning is a fraction of the time required to make any other breakfast. 



Variations

I made the pudding with coconut milk. If you have a can of thick milk, dilute it using water else the pudding will be super thick and the chia seeds will not absorb the liquid completely. If you do not fancy coconut milk, replace the milk with any nut milk like almond or cashew. Else, just add regular milk if you are not looking for a vegan version.

Plus, I used the fruits that I like and had in my refrigerator. They can be substituted with fruits of your choice. All berries taste really good with the pudding. And lastly, I made a black and white basic version of the pudding. However, you can add any fruit puree to make the pudding of a different flavor. Or just mix in nutella and you get an amazing chocolate flavored pudding. 


Ingredients

Chia Seeds 3 tbsp
Thin Coconut Milk 2 cups
Honey 1 tbsp
Fruits to top (Kiwi and Mangoes)
Roasted Strawberries 2 tbsp
Mint leaves a few


Method


In a bowl mix together coconut milk and chia seeds. Let it stand for an hour. Then refrigerate overnight or atleast 4-5 hours; till the milk is absorbed and the pudding thickens. 

Remove from refrigerator and add in honey. Mix well and set aside. 

Chop mangoes and kiwis to small pieces. Add some chopped fruits and some roasted strawberries in glasses or mason jars. 

Top with chia pudding. Add some more fruits, some strawberries and mint leaves. Enjoy!





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Friday, March 24, 2017

Kesar Kheer | Saffron Rice Pudding

Blogging Marathon #74 Week 4 Day 1
Theme: Are you Pudding me?
Dish: Kesar Kheer | Saffron Rice Pudding 

An amazing blend of milk, rice and sugar. This delicious kheer (rice pudding) is flavored with saffron and full of nuts! 


It is Friday and I am craving something sweet! While I type out this kheer recipe, I want another bowl of this warm milk based pudding today. It is almost the end of March yet we have a rainstorm today! It is cold, windy, dark and boring. I had a couple of recipes to shoot today and now they are pushed to tomorrow. 

Ok enough about the weather and other things, wonder why I am adding an Indian sweet dish when there is no festival in sight? Well this week I am blogging puddings for the Blogging Marathon and what better than our very own kheer? 

This rice pudding has different meanings for different families. Some make it to celebrate any festival, some for puja and some for a quick dessert. Last week I wanted something yummy and I made this delicious rice pudding. 


Generally kheer is white in color with just sugar, rice and milk. I made a more royal version with saffron, rose petals and edible silver varakh. Most people enjoy it with puri or roti. We did likewise, some warm kheer with roti for lunch and the rest was refrigerated for dessert post dinner. 

From start to finish the recipe takes about an hour to make. The most time is taken by the milk to thicken. Once the milk thickens, it is just adding ingredients you like to finish off the kheer. 

This recipe is from my grandma's collection. She used to make the most delicious kheer for Sunday lunch. Her secret ingredient was nutmeg. It is believed to induce sleep and I remember finishing bowl fulls of this kheer with puri and then sleeping for hours blaming the nutmeg! It was not really the pinch of nutmeg that would put us to sleep but the heavy lunch that induced all the sleep! 


Now I make kheer the same way as she taught me not long ago. The taste is great and flavors amazing. However, nothing can replicate the taste that she made! I am sure that I can make it for years and still not be able to make it the same way! So we enjoy this form of kheer whenever we crave it.

Variations

I generally make it with 2% fat milk and it is not as thick. This time I made it with a mixture of 2% and whole milk. The result was a thick kheer that was super delicious. Also, I used basmati rice that I made from scratch for the recipe. The same recipe can be made using leftover rice. The only difference is that the rice should be added once the milk thickens. 

In this kheer I added sugar. Some people also add jaggery or condensed milk. The taste does change a little but it has a different flavor of it's own. Plus, you can added any dry fruits of your choice and cardamon and rose petals. If you do not have any of the ingredients or you do not like it, leave them out. 

To shorten the time required to make kheer, add a can of evaporated milk to the milk. That will make the milk thick really soon and you do not need to boil the milk for a long time. 


Ingredients

Basmati/ long grain rice 1/2 cup
Milk 3 cups ( I used whole milk and 2%, 1.5 cups each)
Sugar 1/2-3/4 cup
Cardamom 2-3 pods, crushed
Saffron strands/ Kesar 1/4 tsp
Almonds, Pistachios 4-5 each
Nutmeg powder a pinch
Dried Rose Petals a few
Silver varakh if desired



Method 

Wash and place rice with 1 cup water in a thick bottom pan. Bring to a boil and simmer till the water is absorbed by the rice and the rice is cooked. 

Add the milk and heat on medium flame. Let the milk keep boiling till it reduces to half. 

Take a tablespoon of the hot milk and mix in kesar. Once the kesar mixes, add the yellow tinted milk back to the pan. 

When the milk reduces to half, add sugar, crushed cardamom, nutmeg powder and mix well. Adjust the sugar as per your preference. 

Turn down the heat, add some almonds and pistachios. Mix well and enjoy warm or cold. Add dried rose petals, remaining almonds and pistachios and silver varakh just before serving. 



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