Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-chia what?

I've been lazy these days and haven't been cooking much. I've just been devouring mounds and mounds of soba noodles these days because it's so hot, it's easy to make and it's healthy. I just grate up some radish, chop up some green onion and add the garnishes to my store bought bottle of soba dipping sauce and I have a simple and quick meal all under 10 minutes. I've been going through bottles of the soba dipping sauce like diet coke in my hay day so I may have to start making my own sauce at home. That might be worthy of a upcoming post.

So anyways, since I haven't been cooking much, I will take this time to introduce two new staples in my kitchen.

One is chia seeds. I know, what you are thinking, do you mean a chia pet? Well, they are definitely related. Remember those clay figurines that you would water and in time sprouts would grow making it look like fur. Well, those sprouts are in fact from chia seeds and it turns out those seeds are quite healthy for you. Who knew? According to the package, chia is native to Central America and has been used for over 3000 years. Chia has a high fiber content, making it absorb more than 10 times its weight in water. Chia contains a rich source of pure omega 3 fatty acids and contains other antioxidants. Chia's soluble fiber forms a gel that slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, binding it to toxins in the digestive system and helps eliminate waste.

My friend J is the one who first told me about chia seeds (along with flax seeds, goji berries, kombucha, basically anything health related, I hear from J first). She went on and on about how delicious they were in pudding and how they tasted like tapioca, so I thought it was worth a shot. Here's what I found when I opened the jar.
It looks like miniature black and white sesame seeds. The only qualm I have about them is the smell. It's what I imagine a chia pet to smell like, if in fact they were real. So as you can see, I'm not the biggest fan of the smell and my goal these days is to try to incorporate it into foods that mask the smell.

The first concoction I made was to make the pudding J raved about. J suggested putting the seeds in soy milk or almond milk and making a pudding out of it. All you do is get a cup of soy milk or almond milk and stir in a scoop of these seeds. I suggest putting it in the refrigerator and stirring it from time to time because it will clump up. It's pretty neat to see it absorb the liquid and form into this gel-like substance. It definitely has an easier time absorbing the almond milk than the soy milk, I'm not sure why. I've tried eating it after it's absorbed the milk with some sweetener, like agave nectar, but again the smell kind of gets to me.

While J, who genuinely loves the taste of kombucha and raw kale smoothies, thinks chia seeds taste like tapioca, I will provide the soomeenshee review of this pudding. Although it does have the look of tapioca, the seeds don't get completely soft, so it still has a bite and a weird smell. So while some may be convinced that it tastes like tapioca, I prefer to add some other texture to it so the bite isn't as noticeable. I prefer to leave it in soy milk or almond milk overnight and then in the morning, I add some more milk, crunchy cereal and blueberries to it. It makes for an interesting bowl of cereal/pudding that is far more appetizing than eating it plain with milk.

Another way to enjoy chia seeds is to put them in aqua fresca. You can make any variation you like, but I add scoops of chia seeds to a jar of lemonade. Refrigerate the lemonade and let the chia seeds get bloated and happy. When you gulp it down, you might mistake the chia seeds for lemon segments, but you've just fooled yourself into consuming a spoonful of dietary fiber and omega-3's. Now if you're curious where to get these seeds, I think there are cheaper sources online, but I bought my jar of chia seeds from whole foods for $20.
Last but not least, next to the bottle of chia seeds, you will see a package of Good Earth "Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea." A friend introduced this tea to me awhile ago and it tastes exactly like Korean cinnamon tea (sujeonggwa) that you usually get at Korean restaurants as dessert. It's so good. I would never in a million years attempt to make sujeonggwa, which apparently is made from dried persimmons, cinnamon and ginger mostly because I don't want to know how much sugar goes into the drink, but who knew the good people at Good Earth, made a sugar free version in easy to brew tea bags. The great thing about this tea is that it is naturally sweet. Yes, you heard me, no sugar. I'll list the ingredients here for you.

Ingredients: Red Rooibos, Chicory Root, Artificial Flavor, Rosehips, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Papaya, Chamomile, Panax Ginseng Leaves, Anise Seed, Ginger Root, Dandelion Root, Orange Peel and Orange Oil.

I have no clue what makes this tea sweet and delicious but you really have to go out and put some in your cupboard for when I come to visit. It's caffeine free and sugar free, what more could you ask for? I bought mine at Trader Joe's, but if there isn't one near you, tell me and I will mail you some.

1 comment:

  1. i am a bit like j in that i actually enjoy the flavor of a lot of things that ppl think tastes like cardboard or weird, etc. however, kombucha is just weird. it's so sour. i can't help but keep thinking im drinking a beverage that has gone bad. i know it's supposed to be fermented blah blah and they say it's good for you, but hmm.

    this chia thing is interesting, esp how just putting it in soy milk makes it like pudding. so what is your conclusion? will you buy another box of them after yours is done and continue eating?

    btw how do you eat your flax seeds? any good ideas? next topic for a post!!