When the temps start to rise, there’s nothing like a quick and cool dessert to round off a meal. Not that I need any excuse to make desserts, but doesn’t this bowl just scream “Spring”?!!
I may have let out a little scream of glee when I started spotting this season’s strawberries. In Texas, we start way earlier than the rest of the country and I am thankful for that. They are so juicy, I’m gonna dieee… (Done in my best voice impression of Agnes, and that’s from Despicable Me for those of you who live under a rock).
So, back to the dessert. It’s an almost no-cook pudding. The only thing you need to cook is a berry compote (I used blueberries here). But since I always make and store some kind of fruit compote/sauce in my refrigerator, I simply had to assemble the pudding. (Insert Garfield-like smug grin).
What’s with all the cartoon references, you ask? As I type this, I am listening to cartoons that the lil’ one is watching on TV. Honestly, for the past few years, I only seem to recollect or draw parallels from animated characters. Motherhood sometimes feels like a second childhood. Speaking of which, Boy wanted to have nothing to do with this pudding. And here’s the reason for that.
See those beady little things that kind of look like chia seeds? Well they’re the chia’s tropical cousins, basil seeds or sabja or tukmaria as we call it. They are similar to chia seeds and come from the Thai holy basil plant. They are extremely beneficial for you if used correctly. Most importantly, they help cool the body and is used in many summer beverages throughout India.
Sabja or basil seeds are very easy to use. Simply soak a small amount in lukewarm milk (or water) and watch them swell up right before your own eyes. In 10 minutes, they will swell up to the maximum, absorb all the liquid and become gelatinous. Then you simply add them to desserts, beverages or make puddings like I did here. It’s most commonly used in a dessert beverage called falooda, and I will show you in a few days what it is exactly. (If only I can get around to editing pictures and posting recipes instead of just taking pictures of food!)
For now, I made these layered pudding cups. I assembled each pudding cup by layering sabja with some sweet blueberry compote and lots of fresh strawberries. Keep pudding chilled till serving time and add a splash of milk just before serving to loosen it a bit. It is a great pick-me-up snack after a long day, a fresh no-fuss dessert and a filling make-ahead breakfast.
Still, the kiddo wanted to have nothing to do with them. “I don’t want those black things”, he said in his best indignant tone. Kids do eat with their eyes first, don’t they? Well, to each his own!
But you guys will love it, I am sure of that! The way you eat this pudding dessert will say a lot about your personality. Do you carefully retain the layers, carefully spooning a bit of each component in every bite? Or do you stir it all up and then enjoy it? Or do you prefer to eat all the sweet berries right at the beginning? Since I know that might be too much of a temptation to resist, I have a secret layer of extra berries at the bottom of the pudding as well. Enjoy!
SABJA (BASIL SEEDS) AND BERRY PUDDING
You will need: (Makes 4 large servings)
- Basil seeds (known as sabja or tukmaria) – 6 tbsp
- Milk – 2 cups, slightly warmed
- Sugar – 3-4 tbsp
- Blueberry compote/sauce – 1/2 cup, chilled (Find recipe here)
- Fresh strawberries – 1 lb, washed, hulled and chopped
- Take milk in a large bowl. Add the sabja or basil seeds and stir well. You will see the seeds start to swell up, and in a matter of few minutes, they would have absorbed the liquid and become gelatinous. Add more milk if required. Stir in the sugar and refrigerate till needed.
- To assemble a pudding cup, spoon 2 tbsp blueberry compote in a dessert glass or bowl. Add 2 tbsp soaked sabja seeds on top. Then add a few pieces of chopped strawberries. Spoon 2 tbsp seeds on top and finish with a generous layer of chopped strawberries. Repeat for as many servings as you need. Refrigerate till serving time. This pudding can be made 1-2 days in advance.
- Sabja or basil seeds can be found at all Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores. Obviously, chia seeds are an excellent stand-in for sabja, but they require more soaking time.
- I’ve found that it is best to soak sabja in lukewarm milk and not cold milk for them to swell properly. You can warm the milk slightly in the microwave before soaking the seeds.
- You can soak the sabja in water too, but milk works better in this pudding recipe. You can use non-dairy milk for a vegan version.
- Feel free to substitute the blueberry sauce with any kind of berry compote. I used blueberries because I already had a batch of blueberry sauce in the fridge, but strawberries, raspberries or blackberries will work too.
- If the strawberries you use are not very sweet, toss them in a few spoonfuls of sugar to sweeten them.
- If the pudding seems too thick, serve with a splash of cold milk to loosen it up a bit.
Are you excited to create spring and summer desserts? I am just getting started and I cannot wait to whip up more sweet creations. Stay tuned!
Tell me, have you heard of sabja seeds? How do you use them? Do share.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
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- Elizabeth & Co
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- The NY Melrose Family
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- Living Well Spending Less
- The Shabby Nest
- French Country Cottage
- My Romantic Home
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- By Stephanie Lynn