Mango and Coconut Pudding: A lighter dessert after a heavy Chinese New Year meal

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

‘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!

Korean Barbecue

Korean Barbecue

Korean Barbecue

Korean Barbecue

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!

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

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

Ingredients

  • 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!)

Method

  • 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.
Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries- Individual mini puddings

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!

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries

Mango and Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango and Blueberries- Individual pots

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber: A Chinese New Year experiment

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

(Happy Chinese New Year!)

This post is dedicated to everyone who is celebrating Chinese New Year on 31st January 2014! I invited some friends over for a celebratory meal and got a little stuck on what to cook. So I bought a Gressingham Duck crown at the supermarket and this is what I came up with…

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

 

Most people will be familiar with deep fried crispy from Cantonese Restaurants all over the world. Deep fried crispy duck is usually made up of shredded duck meat, ‘hoi sin’ sauce, and thinly sliced cucumber and spring onions, all wrapped in a thin wheat pancake. This recipe takes inspiration from this dish but uses other traditional Chinese cooking methods and some of the same flavours. This is a fairly long post, so please stay with me, it’s worth it! 🙂

For the duck, I loosely based the cooking on this recipe for Teochew Braised Duck (Lo Ack/滷鸭) but used a few different ingredients as I didn’t have all of the stated ones. Here’s approximately what I used:

  • 4 star anise
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tbs five spice powder
  • 2 tbs cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 inch piece of root ginger smashed up

The method I used was the same as the recipe. However as I cooked it the day before, I left the duck in the braising stock over night in the fridge for extra flavour!

As this recipe slow cooks the duck and doesn’t involve deep frying to get the crispy texture, I thinly sliced the duck meat and got the crispy texture from the pancakes instead…

 

For the pickled cucumber, I drew inspiration once more from one of my favourite cooks, Christine Ho who is my ‘go-to’ cook for Chinese food inspiration. Her recipe for ‘Sweet and Sour Cucumber’ sounded ideal for this dish. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, although I used one large cucumber so kind of guessed the quantities of the vinegar and sugar! (I used white wine vinegar because that was what I saw in the cupboard first!)

 

Spring onion pancakes

Spring onion pancakes

For the Spring Onion Pancakes, again Christine Ho came to the rescue! These ‘pancakes’ are not the fluffy kind that are usually served for breakfast. Think of them as the Chinese version of a pan-fried flat bread. The dough becomes is flaky and crisp whilst the spring onions give them a subtle ‘oniony’ flavour.  I’ve never made these before but have eaten loads of my mum’s ones before. My mum uses lard in her recipe, as with a lot of Chinese recipes but Christine’s ‘Scallion Pancakes‘ don’t call for it, so I wasn’t too sure how they would turn out…

I followed the recipe but as I wanted to be able to use the pancakes to wrap up the duck meat, I decided to go for much thinner versions. these turned out fairly well but not as flaky as the usually thicker spring onion pancakes. I used ready made hoi sin sauce as I wasn’t even going to attempt it myself!

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

Braised Duck with Spring Onion Pancakes and Pickled Cucumber

Although this dish is time consuming to make due to all the different elements, it is fairly satisfying to roll up these tasty morsels and enjoy them with friends for this special occasion.

The duck was moist and full of flavour, the pickled cucumber was great for refreshing the palate and the spring onion pancakes were crisp enough to add a little crunch but still pliable enough to roll up. Delicious! 🙂