Saturday, 11 June 2011

Weekend Cooking: What the heck is Chia?

Last week I introduced you to the nutrition and cookbook Whole Foods to Thrive by Brendan Brazier.   While reading the book I was introduced to a number of new to me foods.  One of them is chia.  It is a tiny seed of a plant from the sage family.  What I found most intriguing is that when mixed with liquids it forms a gel.  On top of that is is called a Superfood.   Some facts about chia: high in calcium, alkaline forming, higher protein than any other seed or grain, a complete protein, more potassium than bananas and it keeps you feeling full.  Chia is gluten free. 

Feel free to add a tsp of chia seeds to your morning smoothie to increase creaminess.  Add the chia to the juice, let it set for 15 minutes before putting it into the blender for smoothie making.  You can read more about chia at The Natural News, Chia Seed Recipes, and an online search will turn up hundreds of more sites. 

 I was interested in a recipe that I saw on the Chia Seed Recipes site.  I adapted it to my own ingredients.

4 tbsp chia seeds
1 can (398 ml) lower fat coconut milk

Mix these together in a medium size bowl.  Stir occasionally for the next 15 minutes to keep from clumping.
 These seeds will swell and the outer coating becomes gel like.
 Add 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp carob or cocoa powder.  Mix well.  Don't worry about any dark lumps, as they will dissolve when you let the pudding sit for another 15 minutes or so.  I added 1 tbsp agave syrup for sweetening.  You can choose your own sweetener.
 In this photo there are still some lumps of carob, but they all dissolved.

I served with a sprinkle of coconut.  Very yummy and kept me feeling full for the rest of the evening. 

Margaret came for a visit and left a link to her site Chia Power.
Louise in Australia wrote about her first encounter with chia on her blog Adventrues in a Low GI World.

My daughter Shannon has posted her first post to Weekend Cooking. 

For more food related reading, be sure to visit Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking meme.


Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook said...

Interesting ingredient, I've never heard of it before. The pudding looks very good. You're definitely widening my horizons with the chia!

TheBookGirl said...

Very interesting Heather; this is definitely new to me too...The only "chia" that I know is the Chia Pet of years ago from the t.v. commercials, lol.

sewnut said...

I add Chia to my smoothies every day. Yesterday I discovered that if you do not drink your smoothie in the morning, it becomes a pudding in the afternoon that you can eat with a fork.
It was lovely though and I will make it on purpose as a snack.
I used:
1 tbsp Chia (about that much any)way
1 cup mango/orange juice (sort of)
1/2 cup of blueberries and blackberries (mixed together)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsb ginger (not that much on purpose but it worked out to taste so good!)
All whirled up in the blender for a few minutes. mmmmmm

Beth F said...

Wow. I learned something today. Is this the same thing that's used for "chia pets"? I'm so intrigued by this super food.

Shan said...

I'm going to start adding chia to my smoothies (my husband was looking to get some a little while ago.) I've been adding flaxseed to them, but read something that has made me want to take it out of my diet. And since I've just given up dairy completely, I need something that will keep calcium in my diet. Perfect timing!

JoAnn said...

LOL, I though of 'chia pets', too! Very interesting post...

Heather said...

One of the sites I visited suggested mixing 1/3 cup chia seeds with 2 cups water. Leave this in the fridge, and add the amount you want to your smoothies and any other dish you want. Then you don't have to wait for it to plump up.

As for the chia pet, yes, I do believe this is the same thing. Just no terra cotta pet involved, though I have been calling it chia pet pudding to my children.

Joy Weese Moll said...

What an interesting new food. Thanks for bringing it up. I can always use something with calcium.

Margaret said...

Yes, it is the same seed as used on the chia pet. I have lots of information about chia seeds on my website, including kids activities and oil-free salad dressing recipes. I hope you will visit.

Uniflame said...

Very interesting. I am not sure if I am ready to try this though. I did read about the texture, but what do they taste like?

Uniflame said...

Oh and I forgot to add: I got your card yesterday! I think it has to be the prettiest card I have ever gotten! Thank you so much!

Kate said...

This looks so interesting! I've never heard of chia, other than the "pets." This looks like an interesting dessert, though. How is the texture?

Margot said...

Very interesting Heather. I learned something new here today.

Louise said...

How interesting. I discovered chia on blogs last year. I have some at home, but haven't done much beyond sprinkling them onto my morning cereals, or salads. I'm not sure how I'd like them as a feature in a dish. I know if I get interrupted eating cereal they do get that gelatinous film. Not sure how I'd feel about a pudding, although I know that they're often used that way. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try this one day.

Louise said...

Heather, I discovered chia a few months ago (having seen them around the food blogs for a while before that), but have never been brave enough to make a pudding like you did! I've been putting them to more mundane uses, and have only used up a small bit of my not very large packet of them. My what the heck is chia post is here

Nan said...

Remember chia pets??!