Unlike custardy or bread puddings, Chinese mango pudding (mango bo deen) is more like a fruity and creamy jello. It is a popular dim sum (tea time) dessert that is best served cold with evaporated milk. I believe it originated in Hong Kong. It is one of my favourite Chinese desserts. It is very easy to make and it is the perfect light and cool finish to a heavy or spicy meal. I especially love having it in the summer time. I was inspired to make it when my sister and I were served a very disappointing mango bo deen at an expensive and high class Chinese restaurant. My sister, who doesn’t like mango puddings, said that my mango bo deen was good… for a mango bo deen. 😉 Update: I recently made these again using mango nectar instead of 100% mango juice, and everyone agreed that it was the best mango pudding they had ever had.
Depending on the restaurant, mango pudding is served in various shapes (ie. giant fish) or small individual rounds. You could use plastic molds or simply serve the pudding in ramekins or small bowls. For a family style option, make the pudding in a glass or nonstick baking dish and allow people to spoon out their own portions.
Chinese Mango Pudding Recipe (Mango Bo Deen)
This recipe made the perfect amount for 12 small ramekins; I’ve also used it to fill 5 small bowls. This recipe was adapted from here.
3 cups of 100% mango juice or mango nectar (I have used the following with great success: Wilde brand of pressed mango juice in a carton – it is Not from concentrate and has no added sugar, water, or preservatives; VITA sana brand of mango nectar – it is a product of Italy and is my preferred option)
1 fresh and ripe mango, cut into small cubes (Note: This is optional, but if you can get your hands on good quality, ripe mango, it will make a huge difference)
1 cup half and half cream or evaporated milk (Note: The half and half cream is preferable.)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar (Note: This dessert is meant to be lightly sweetened. If using mango nectar that already has added sugar, use a scant 1/2 cup of sugar.)
2 Knox brand gelatin packages (Note: That’s 2 individual packages, not boxes)
evaporated milk, chilled, for serving (optional)
Bring a sauce pot with 1/2 cup of water to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large heat proof bowl, dissolve the gelatin powder in 1/2 cup of cold water by stirring well. When the water in your sauce pot has come to a boil, stir in the granulated white sugar until it completely dissolves. Then pour it into the gelatin water while stirring vigorously. (The gelatin should be completely dissolved at this point, but if you notice bits of gelatin, strain this solution into a clean bowl.) Gently stir in the mango juice and half and half cream until well combined. Distribute the fresh pieces of mango evenly into each of the ramekins/molds. Then pour the mango pudding into your ramekin(s)/mold(s). Allow them to cool completely. Then cover with plastic syran wrap, refrigerate overnight or until completely set and chilled through. To serve, unmold your mango pudding onto a serving plate (if using a mold, that is) and serve it cold with chilled evaporated milk on the side. Guests may pour the evaporated milk over their mango pudding as desired.