Before I started eating a low carb diet, I can’t say I knew much about chia seeds or chia pudding. Chia showed up in the odd dish out of the house, but I had never bought them – how that has changed! Chia seeds saved me in the early days, when my carb cravings were most severe and they continue to be an almost daily part of my diet (and hence on my list of 125 Delicious foods).
Chia seeds are from the plant Salvia Hispanic, which is in the sage family. Like many delicious foods (including chocolate), they are native to Southern Mexico. They are high in fibre, full of Omega-3 fatty acids, are provide protein and amino acids (especially useful if you’re vegetarian or vegan).
If you have a spice grinder, you can grind them before using, which gives you a smooth finished product. If you don’t grind them, they have a consistency similar to tapioca, which is also lovely. I enjoy them both ways, depending on my mood.
One note: watch the price, which can vary dramatically. If you’re not careful, you can pay through the nose. If you find them as useful as I do, consider buying in bulk – I buy organic seeds for far less than you’d find non-organic in the supermarket or health food store.
Here are ways I enjoy them
1. Unground, with cream
Use 20gm of chia seeds and 150gm cream. Stir regularly until it thickens (if you don’t stir at the beginning, it will clump up and be hard to break up). It has a mousse-like consistency.
Things to add for variation: 5gm pure cocoa, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2. Ground, in a blender, with cream
Grind 50gm seeds with your spice grinder. Stir in 225gm cream, then give a blitz or two until solid. This is a thicker dessert, since the cream whips up. It’s very filling, and it lasts me a couple of days.
3. With coconut milk (or coconut cream)
I make a whole can of the milk (400ml) with 100gm ground chia. Make sure you get a good coconut milk. Many of them are mostly water. Thai Gold is almost all coconut and is excellent. My local supermarket stocks it.
Things to add for variation: Toasted, desiccated coconut to bring out the coconut taste, lime juice, drop of rum if you’re feeling naughty.
4. With water
This sounds boring, but it’s so guilt free that Dr Jason Fung says it can even be used while fasting (if you have a wobble) without wrecking the fast. It also travels well, so you can bring some along incase you get hungry on the road.
I use 20gm chia with 100gm of water. Again, you need to stir it regularly.
Things to add for variation (though not if you’re fasting): Juice of half a lemon, a few raspberries, coffee.
5. With Mascarpone
I use 25gm ground chia with 250gm mascarpone. This makes a very dense, decadent dessert. If you prefer it less solid, you can loosen it with some cream or full fat yoghurt. With a bit of coffee and pure cocoa, it has some of the flavour notes of tiramisu.
6. With almond milk
Make sure you use unsweetened almond milk! I use 20gm chia with 100gm almond milk. It’s also good with 5gm pure cocoa.