Monday, March 26, 2012

Chai-Chai-Chai Chia! (Pudding)

Chris has turned me onto Apartment Therapy's Kitchn blog in my quest to eat vegetables more often. Last week, I came across this recipe. The picture looked yummy, but what also caught my eye was the use of the new-to-me (but actually ancient) food, chia seeds. I had read all about their nutritional benefits and ability to sustain Tarahumara runners in Born to Run, and did intend to try them out, but never got around to it.

I tweaked things, though, because there were three cups of water in this pudding! Yes, I know. It's a vegan and raw recipe. I tried to stick to the theme, so I decided to go with almond milk instead to complement the hazelnuts and cashews. I strayed from the raw (which, as an everything-a-vore, doesn't bother me one bit), and heated up the almond milk for steeping the spices, which I also altered.

I decided that since I love the flavors of Chai so much, and that this was a cardamom-intense recipe, that I would throw in some fennel and allspice as well. It turned out reeeaaallly really yummy, so I'm sharing my version.

Chai Chia Pudding
makes 6 small servings

3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 T cardamom pods, smashed, and most or all of the husks discarded
1/2 t fennel
6-ish (maybe 1/4 t) dried allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup hazelnuts
3/4 cup cashews
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1/3 cup chia seeds

Add the first five ingredients to a medium pot. Heat until just boiling,
Turn off the heat, cover for 15 minutes to steep, and then uncover and cool for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small food processor, grind the nuts as fine as possible. 
When the mixture has cooled, strain out the spices.
Stir in the agave nectar, then chia seeds, followed by the nuts. Note: When adding the chia seeds, they will clump together if you dump them all in and then stir. Add gradually and whisk them in. If the almond milk is still warm, this may contribute to clumping (just a theory).
Cover and refrigerate overnight or for about eight hours.
Chia seeds will plump up and absorb most of the liquid. If you're a fan of tapioca pudding, this is for you!

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