You like pudding? I give you twice the puddingness.
Before I came to know about chia seeds, I was already acquainted with the gelatinous texture in another form – sago and tapioca pudding. The little white sago and tapioca pearls are popular in traditional Southeast Asian desserts made with coconut milk such as Mango Sago Pomelo and Bubur Cha Cha. These squishy jelly-like balls added a unique texture to the dish, making them seriously fun to eat. And then the chia superfood craze came along.
Although pearl tapioca, pearl sago and chia seeds exude the same ooey gooey texture, they have quite different botanical origins, nutritional properties and preparation. Sago and tapioca are almost pure starch, gluten-free, and very little protein or vitamins, being extracted from the pith of the Sago Palm stems (Metroxylon sagu), and the root of the cassava plant respectively. Both are commonly sold as pearls and require soaking and boiling to release their starches and become transparent when cooked. Because of their highly similar properties, tapioca pearls may also be called sago in common parlance and may be used interchangeably. However tapioca pearls come in different sizes and colours; there are some who also claim that sago is less sticky to work with. On the other hand, chia seeds come from the dried flowers of the chia plant (Salvia hispanica) and is ranked as a superfood. It contains a balanced blend of carbohydrate (44%), fat (31%) and protein (16%). The carbohydrate includes both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, and most of the fat is heart-healthy essential omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. In fact, did you know that clinical trials on chia seeds have been carried out? Most results showed improvements in outcome measures in healthy subjects as well as metabolic syndrome patients. [via The Promising Future of Chia]
Then I thought about combining tapioca pearls and chia to create a Mother Pudding of all puddings. Adding chia seeds to the traditional tapioca pudding would also give it a nutritional boost. Because my generic packet of pearl sago did not have cooking instructions, I had to look up online on how to prepare them. Following several trials (and tribulations), here a tutorial on how to prepare a double whammy tapioca/sago and chia pudding. Best enjoyed layered with overnight oats or spooned over hot oats!
Here are some of the ways I’ve been enjoying the double pudding.
Round 1: Tapioca/Chia Pudding layered with Overnight Matcha Oats & Strawberries. (The pearls were overcooked in this instance) but the matcha/strawberry/coconut flavour pairing was great!
Round 2: Tapioca/Chia Pudding spooned over Balsamic Roasted Figs & Strawberries steel-cut Oatmeal. The pearls were perfectly cooked this time!