Chia pudding is a no-fuss breakfast (a half serve is also a perfect snack). It takes just a few minutes to make the night before. Delicious served with caramelized fig or any fruit in season. It's an easy breakfast to take with you if you have an early start. Chia seeds don't have much flavour, they are just extremely good for you, the ingredients you add will make them nice and tasty. Chia is the highest plant based source of Omega 3. Very high in protein and fibre, also loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
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Add the chia seeds, desiccated coconut and salt to a bowl, mix.
Add the coconut milk, coconut water/filtered water, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir well. If you like your pudding really thick use extra chia seeds. I like mine more soft and soupy, so I use 2 tablespoons of chia.
Place your bowl covered in the fridge to soak up the liquid for 45 minutes or allow to soak over night.
Wash and dry the figs, trim off stems. Cut in half, then cut the halves in thirds.
Heat a small frying pan on high, melt ghee. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon over the melted ghee. Place the fig pieces in one layer into the ghee. Use a spatula to turn the fig pieces over to lightly brown and caramelize each side, you will only need approximately 1 1/2 minutes for each side. Set aside to cool to room temperature or place in the fridge if you are assembling your pudding in the morning.
Place 2 large spoons of chia pudding into the bottom of a glass or jar, top with a layer of caramelized fig, add remaining pudding and arrange the other half of figs on top.
These little seeds absorb 9-12 times their weight in water and are excellent to add as a thickener to sauces and fruit spreads. They can also be used as an egg replacement in muffins and cakes (1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water). Chia seeds can also be used to make delicious chia puddings for breakfast or desserts. There are many health benefits of chia. It is the richest plant source of Omega 3 fats, dietary fibre and protein. Chia seeds are also packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and fatty acids.
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I have used finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. See coconut milk recipe on page 299 of The JOYful Table cookbook. If purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.
This is the liquid found inside young coconuts. It is packed with electrolytes, excellent for after exercise. Coconut water contains potassium, calcium and magnesium and is also a natural hydrator. I use it in my smoothies and have added it to a few of my recipes. You can find it in health food stores and supermarkets. Ensure you read the label carefully as some contain preservatives and/or sugar and may not be 100% coconut water.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
Figs are a good source of potassium, calcium and iron, high in fibre. Figs are harvested late summer and early autumn. Fresh figs spoil quickly and need to be eaten within 2 - 3 days, because of this figs are usually dried. When purchasing dried figs, buy organic without preservatives.
Ghee is a lactose-free ancient superfood. It is made by slow cooking and clarifying butter to remove the milk solids and lactose, it's pure butter fat. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brands are Organic Valley Purity Farms or Puresoul grass-fed. It is also very easy to make yourself. Ghee has a high smoke point 485F/250C.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.