Mango Pomelo Chia Soup

My family is a traditional Cantaonese family; the mode of celebration of choice when it comes to occasions such as birthdays is most indefinitely a multi-course meal at a Cantonese restaurant. Like an excited reader who is too impatient to plough through the pages of a book, my eyes would spontaneously jump to the end of the menu to see what is in store for dessert. If it is chilled cream of Mango Sago Pomelo or glutinous rice balls, I would eagerly look forward to this sweet ending.

Pomelo is the largest citrus fruit, alluding credit to its species name, Citrus maxima. The gargantuas tropical fruit is in season from August to October and from Januray to March. They have been arriving in heaploads at the supermarket recently which piqued my curiosity to learn more about this fruit.

At the supermarket, I observed different shapes of pomelo. Indeed, the shape depends on the cultivar, which generally falls into three groups – Chinese, Indonedian or Thai. Confusingly, these group names do not reflect their country of origin as all pomelos are generally imported from Malaysia. The Chinese variety (Shatian or J8) is pyramid-like with a thick rind and lots of juice. It is mainly grown in the southern states of Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. The Indonesian variety is large and round. The most popular is the Tambun White and Tambun Pink varieties that are grown in Tambun, Ipoh, also known as the Pomelo centre of Malaysia. The Thai variety is the smallest and sweetst, and comes from the northern state of Kedah. This round I selected Ipoh Tambuns, but I’d be sure to note any difference in future pomelo tastings!

Pomelo can be enjoyed on its own, just as how one enjoys grapefruit. It also features in salads such as the Chinese Yu Sheng, and the Thai Yum Som-O. However because Australian mangoes are also in season, I decided to make the best of both fruits with a variation of Mango Sago Pomelo using chia seeds instead of sago pearls. I have written on sago pearls before in this post if you would like to know more.

Normally this dessert is made with evaporated milk or cream, but I wholly used coconut milk to keep it dairy-free yet still silky smooth and luxurious. In addition, most recipes call for simple syrup to enhance sweetness but personally I prefer it with a sour edge that is contributed by lime juice. The crowning highlight of this refreshing dish is induibitably the sudden spurts of sweet-sour juices from pomelo arils, Even if pomleo is inaccessible to you, I highly recommend you try this dessert with grapefruit sacs, although it will probably be more acidic.

Mango Pomelo Chia Soup
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Sabrina Chu
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • 200 grams mango, roughly diced
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk * (see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 6 small limes)
  • 1 cup pomelo sacs
  • 3/4 cup mango, diced into small cubes
  • 4 teaspoons chia seeds
  1. In a blender, combine 200 grams of mango, coconut milk and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour out the mixture into a large bowl. Stir in pomelo sacs, cubed mangoes and chia seeds.
  3. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer to allow the chia seeds to form a gel.
  4. Best enjoyed chilled, within the next 24 hours.
To make homemade coconut milk, blend one part coconut flakes or young coconut meat to two parts filtered water. It is less thick than packet or canned coconut milk. [br][br]Select pomelos that are heavy and aromatic, with blemish-free skin ranging from green to yellow. Unripe pomelos have green skin which turn yellow as they ripen (although Thai varieties can remain green when ripe). Allow green fruit to ripen at room temperature but not for too long or they can turn bitter.


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