‘Chinese’ and ‘desserts’ don’t sit too well together. Well, that’s not strictly true… What I mean is that ‘Chinese desserts’ are not the same as those from other countries and cultures. We have traditional sweets and baked goods but they aren’t usually eaten at the end of a meal, more as a snack really! At the end of a meal it is much more common to have a platter or pieces of fruit that are shared in the middle of the table or a sweet ‘soup’.
More recently Chinese cuisine has been heavily influenced by other cultures so there are a wider range of ‘fusion’ desserts out there, taking the ideas of other desserts but using more traditionally Chinese ingredients. Think ‘Lychee panna cotta‘ or ‘Green tea Chiffon Cake‘ and you are going in the right direction. (Note to self: try these recipes out!)
Mango Pudding is a family favourite in Chinese Dim Sum Restaurants. It is a light and tasty end to a meal, often served in small portions with coconut pudding and alongside a platter of freshly cut fruit.
For Chinese New Year 2014 celebrations my family had a ‘Korean Barbecue’. This does not involve going out doors in the midst of the British winter to grill chunks of meat, but is a more comfortable indoor activity with a ‘grill’ in the middle of the table and lots of fresh marinated meats/seafood/vegetables for each person to grill themselves. It’s a great way for everyone to get involved in the cooking of the meal and can take place over hours as you slowly grill your food and chat the night away! Very similar to a Swiss ‘raclette‘, just without the cheese!
As you can imagine a lighter dessert to such a rich meal would be a perfect end to the celebrations, so I taking inspiration from a single mango in the fruit bowl I decided to go for Mango pudding! This dessert is more like a jelly than a traditional ‘pudding’. It can be found all over South East Asia and apparently originates from India!
Looking around online for a recipe, I started off with Christine Ho’s Mango Pudding recipe I remembered that my mum had bought me a few packets of mango jelly on a recent trip to Hong Kong. I had no idea what to do with them, so this recipe was perfect! I found Thai version of the recipe that uses coconut milk in place of evaporated milk so decided to combine the two recipes. (Mainly because I had no evaporated milk, but always have coconut milk in the cupboard!)
Mango and Coconut Pudding
- 2x 80g packets of mango jelly (jello)
- 200 ml hot water
- 100 ml cold water
- 1x 400g tin of coconut milk
- 500ml of mango purée (tinned)
- 1 ripe mango
- Blueberries to decorate (choose any fruit/berries you like!)
- Dissolve the jelly crystals in the hot water and stir
- Add the cold water to the jelly mixture
- Add the tin of coconut milk and mango purée to dissolved jelly and whisk to evenly distribute
- Pour into jelly moulds/serving bowls/glasses
- Put a few chopped pieces of mango into each mould/bowl/glass so that you get a nice piece of fresh mango in each mouth-full
- Chill in the fridge until set (about 2 hours)
- Decorate the top of each mango pudding with the extra blueberries and mango pieces (or whatever fruit you decided on). Alternatively turn out pudding from the mould and decorate once on the serving plate. Sometimes it is served with extra cream of condensed milk.
As usual I have adapted the recipe used so I can use what I’ve got in the cupboards already. The consistency of the pudding was perfect, just set and not too stiff. Like a silky panna cotta…
However I think that using coconut milk instead of evaporated milk has really enhanced the flavour. Simple yet delicious!
To make a vegetarian and no-preservative version of this recipe, use agar agar and puree fresh mangos. There is no need to add extra sugar if you have really sweet and ripe mangos!