Pudding does not have to come in little plastic cups!

By LeAnn Nguyen
February 26, 2018

Pudding doesn’t sound like the most exciting dessert around. The first thing that often comes to mind are little pudding cups you used to pack for lunch in elementary school. With that kind of reputation, it’s not surprising most people don’t seek out pudding as a delicacy.

But the world of pudding goes far beyond those round chocolate cups of childhood. Cultures around the world have their own unique versions with surprising and exciting flavors. So if you’re ever craving something sweet, but don’t feel like doughy cakes and pies, check out one of these delicious puddings.

Malva pudding

This South African bread pudding gets its fruity sweetness from apricot jam and its rich sponginess from a healthy portion of butter. It’s topped with a sauce made of whipping cream, more butter, and sugar. If you want to dial up the richness up another notch, you can have it served with custard or ice cream, which contrasts nicely with the warm bread of the pudding.

Where to find in Seattle: Cederberg Tea House in Queen Anne

Kheer

This rice pudding is popular all around the Indian subcontinent, with variations also available in Pakistan and Iran, where it’s known as payesh. The base is, as expected, made of rice or tapioca, milk, and sugar. It’s definitely not your typical plain rice pudding, though—cardamom, saffron, raisins, and nuts are added to give this dessert a fragrant kick

Where to find in Seattle: most Indian and South Asian restaurants serve kheer, including Garam Masala in the U-District.

Teurgoule

A specialty of the southern French region of Normandy, this is another variation on the classic rice pudding. The extra flavors added here are cinnamon and nutmeg, but what really makes this dessert special is the caramelized crust, similar to the one found on crème brulee, that forms over it after baking in a terracotta dish for several hours.

Where to find in Seattle: let us know if you find it!

Ashure

Some call it the oldest dessert in the world, this Turkish pudding is unique in that it doesn’t contain any animal products, making it perfect for vegans out there with a pudding craving. The ingredients are simple: wheat, rice, beans, chickpeas, sugar, dried fruits, and nuts. There are many different spins on the dish, though, and some of the extra ingredients added can include orange and lemon peels, pomegranate kernels, and rosewater.

Where to find in Seattle: let us know if you find it!

Put chai ko

You can maybe think of this as Hong Kong’s version of the chocolate pudding cup, since it’s also very popular and portable. Literally meaning “little pudding cake,” put chai ko is made by steaming sugar, flour, and a little starch, with red beans also sometimes added. This mixture is poured into small bowls and cooled to room temperature, and then you can stab it with a skewer and eat it off the stick, making for one unique little “pudding pop.”

Where to find in Seattle: let us know if you find it!