There are some dishes you have that you never forget—maybe it was a new taste sensation, the company you shared, or the overall experience…and hopefully most of those memories are positive! I’m lucky to have had many in my lifetime and one such dish for me was a dessert called Gula Melaka  at the restaurant Radio Cairo I frequented when living in Sydney. Gula Melaka is a tapioca (sago) pudding served with palm sugar and coconut milk and as I think about this particular dish, I also get a hint of cardamom coming through, but I can’t be sure if that is a true memory or something I imagined would be a good addition in my reveries. Admittedly, my Sydney culinary experiences were based on much less healthy choices than they are now and as a nutritionist, I’m more inclined to leave desserts for special occasions. An exception, however, is a dish that could be satisfying enough for dessert and healthy enough for breakfast: chia seed pudding.

Chia seeds come from the chia plant, which is actually a flowering herb in the mint family native to Mexico and Guatemala.  Chia seeds have come a long way since the invention of the chia pet in the U.S. back in the 1980s and are now commercially cultivated and marketed as a health food high in Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and protein.

While the nutrient values are similar to sesame and flax seeds, I’ve found it more interesting to work with. You can add them to smoothies, to yoghurt, baked goods, etc. But one of my favourite ways is making a chia seed pudding. Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid if soaked overnight, which gives it a very “gel-like” consistency. It also soaks up other flavours you add to the mixture, giving you a decadent, fiber-filled breakfast.

This breakfast pudding features cardamom and vanilla bean (in honour of the much loved Gula Melaka).

Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding
Serves 1 heartily

  • 3 tbs white chia seeds
  • 1c almond milk or coconut water
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean powder or seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
  • ¼ tsp cardamom (or 1/2tsp cinnamon if you prefer)
  • ½ tsp gluten free vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp raw honey or maple syrup (optional)

Some of My Fave Toppings:

  • Buckwheat kernels (Loving Earth Activated Carmelised Buckinis are perfect)
  • Blueberries, raspberries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coconut yoghurt

Add all ingredients except toppings to a small bowl and mix well with a whisk. Leave for 1 minute, mix again, repeat. Leave for 5 minutes then mix again. Pour into small glass or jar, cover and chill overnight. Top with a sprinkle of buckwheat kernels and fresh berries and pumpkin seeds.