This coconut lemongrass chia pudding is a light, zesty and refreshingly simple dessert. Inspired by Asian-style coconut rice pudding, this chia version delivers robust flavours in every light mouthful.
Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen was one of my favourite cooking shows when it aired and to this day. Not because I particularly love French food but because I do love my recipes with a good side of whimsy. If you didn’t see it, The Little Paris Kitchen was set in a tiny French apartment with a tiny French kitchen and was hosted by a tiny English woman re-creating French cuisine for the masses. Rachel baked, whisked and kneaded her menu wearing just-so vintage sundresses and cardigans that never seemed to be marred with even a dusting of flour. The dishes were cooked in retro kitchenalia and served in perfectly chipped and mismatched china cups and bowls. Sigh to the whimsy.
More recently, Rachel visited our shores and has a been a frequent fixture on our cooking shows; the French apartment is gone but the whimsy remains. This coconut lemongrass chia pudding recipe is inspired by one of her desserts I happened across when the TV was on and I was wrangling the elf in to the bath. Good thing I can multi-task. Rachel’s dish was a coconut milk rice pudding with lemongrass curd, lychees and passionfruit and while rice pudding is not my norm, the combination of flavours had my tastebuds buzzing.
I mentioned the recipe to the husband and his nose turned up at the “rice pudding” part too. Who thought pudding could be so polarising? After a quick poll it appears we live in a world of equal parts rice pudding lovers to rice pudding haters. I will flag however, my survey sample size was small and may not reflect the general population’s view on rice pudding. I asked four people and I was one of them. But I digress.
My coconut lemongrass chia pudding recipe is deliciously simple and thankfully quick. Many chia pudding recipes call for overnight setting but here, the chia seeds are heated in the coconut/almond milk mixture speeding up the softening process. Within a few scant minutes the seeds become wonderfully gelatinous and ready to eat. I leave mine out to cool completely before serving to further thicken the mixture but also because I think the dessert works better with the pudding at room temperature.
Sharp zesty lemongrass curd made from a tried and tested lemon curd recipe beautifully complements the creamy coconut while lychees soaked in lime zest add to the balance perfectly. My recipe calls for optional chilli slivers and I recommend optioning them; they create such an interesting sting of heat before the other elements come in to play and the dish is made so interesting by their addition. It’s just a fun and delicious dessert to indulge. Without any real indulgence which is perfect.
Finished with a smattering of lime zest and a pinch of black sesame seeds for crunch and this recipe is my new go-to dinner party dessert. The layering and presentation is such a delicious illusion because the dish couldn’t be simpler to make. Like I said, I love me some whimsy and my favourite whimsy is that which is easily got. This coconut lemongrass chia pudding is light, whimsical and wonderfully fresh. Enjoy.
PS. For non-vegany types, I have included a link to Rachel Khoo’s recipe (above) if you prefer a traditional curd recipe.
- Lemongrass Curd
- 1/2 125ml cup coconut almond milk
- 1/2 125ml cup coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 125ml cup maple syrup
- 2 3 inch lemongrass stalks out layer removed, roughly chopped and pounded
- 2 tablespoons 30ml corn flour
- Chia Pudding
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 4 tablespoons white chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 cup 250ml lychees, canned or fresh and seeded
- zest of 1 lime - set aside a small amount for garnish
- 1/4 small red chilli finely sliced (optional)
- black sesame or chia seeds to garnish
- Place the lycées, some lycée juice (if using canned) and the lime zest in a bowl. Set aside.
- To make the curd, whisk together the almond and coconut milk, lemon juice and maple syrup in a large bowl.
- Add the lemongrass stalks.
- Over medium heat, heat the mixture in a small saucepan until just before a simmer.
- Turn down the heat and add the cornflour one spoon at a time, continuously stirring.
- Continue stirring until the curd thickens to cover the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the lemongrass stalks and place remaining curd in the fridge, covered.
- To make the chia pudding, heat the almond milk, coconut milk and coconut sugar until warm in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Add the chia seeds and stir until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool and thicken further. Don't refrigerate before serving or the pudding will be set. We want a soft pudding.
- When ready to serve, place a few spoons of the cooled chia pudding in the bottom of a glass.
- Layer with a lesser amount of the curd and place two or three lycées on top.
- Sprinkle with finely sliced chilli (optional), lemon zest and black sesame seeds to serve.