Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Mango Lassi" Pistachio Pudding

So, as previously mentioned, I have new cookbooks and an ongoing love of learning to cook various ethnic foods. I have been poring over my new cookbooks all week; last night I spent a good two hours thumbing through Bal Arneson's Everyday Indian. Sunday is eat-leftovers-and-make-ahead day in our house.  After a dinner of leftover roast pork tenderloin, green beans, cauliflower mash, and roasted sweet potato, we moved away from the Continental US to approach Chinese-inspired stir-fry chicken (marinated in ginger, garlic, lemon, orange, Hoisin and five-spice) for lunches later in the week. Then we backtracked to India for dessert (finally keeping in mind our waistlines, albeit slightly).

This is the result:

Pistachio Mango Pudding
1 package sugar-free Jell-O pudding, pistachio flavor
2 cups reduced-fat or non-fat milk
1 ripe-bordering-on-overripe mango
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup heavy cream (or Cool Whip, if you're on a tighter calorie budget)

- Prepare the pudding per package instructions with the milk. Let set in fridge.
- Peel and slice the mango, being careful not to remove any fingers or significant chunks of your own flesh. Mangoes can be slippery! (Best trick: Slice off the broad end to create a flat surface. Prop it on this flat surface, and use a good vegetable peeler or be very careful with a paring knife to peel off the skin. Once peeled, slice off each side in a wide plank, careful not to get too much of the pith, then the sides.) Take your mango slices and cut them into cubes.
- Toss the mango with the cardamom. (If your mango isn't as ripe as it should be, add a spoonful of sugar and let it all macerate for a bit.) 
- By this time, the pudding should be set. Spoon the mango into a dish and top with pudding, or vice versa.
- Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp heavy cream, or a dollop of Cool Whip.

Enjoy!  (With one mango and a half a cup of pudding each, we had pudding to spare, but were greedy and the mango only made two servings. So plan on pistachio-and-fruit parfaits again later. :) Or buy more mangoes!

I should note that our favorite "diet" dessert lately is sugar-free pudding with Cool Whip and fresh fruit (berries, mango, whatever the local market had that's ripe) -- the whole thing is usually only 2-3 Points, and it's surprisingly filling and satisfying.

I have learned that I cannot succeed at a diet unless I do not feel deprived, which means that I am filling up on veggies and lean proteins (like pork tenderloin or shrimp or chicken) for two out of three meals, and loading up most of my carbs in the morning. I have lost 12 pounds without giving up my jalapeno-cheese bagel with very light cream cheese. I'd call that a successful diet. (I'm certain dance class once a week plus walks around the block twice the day have nothing to do with it... ;P ) In addition to being actually, physically FULL from veggies (I pack gallon-sized bags of carrot, celery, and bell pepper sticks to take with me to work and nosh with hummus), I have to get my sweet tooth fulfilled now and then. These sugar-free pudding desserts do the trick. Now that the weather is changing, I'm going to start using fruit-and-gelatin desserts (but they take more planning, because of how long the Jell-O takes to set up in the fridge). 

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