What does summer in a glass taste like? It’s a questions us foodies like to experiment with, but I think I’ve found the sure-fire answer: a Lemongrass and Coconut Vegan Panna Cotta with Mango Melba! Each of the ingredients are so lush, tropical and encapsulate the freshness of summer in a unique taste. Mangoes, as you all know, are my absolute favourite fruit, and my obsession runs wild during summer when it’s the peak time for mangoes. I always stock up on crates of mangoes and experiment throughout the hot months. This time I wanted to combine it with two other ingredients that are bold and I love so much: lemongrass and coconut. The flavours of this dessert remind me of when I’ve lived in and visited tropical countries, the citrusy lemongrass and sweet mango pairs so well with the creamy coconut in the panna cotta. Oh, and did I mention it’s vegan?! You won’t even believe it, it tastes just as good, maybe even better than a normal panna cotta.
Also, I remember mentioning that a panna cotta is one of the easiest desserts to prep and plate beforehand? Here’s the perfect example of how you can make a panna cotta in advance while making the plating look exquisite! The panna cotta can be set in glasses - I used shot glasses for cute individual portions.
You seriously need to try this because the flavours are so complex and beautiful the only way to actually experience it is to taste the dish itself. Try this recipe and send over the pictures or feedback by commenting down below!
PREP TIME: 20 minutes COOKING TIME: 7 minutes PASSIVE TIME: 10-12 hours YIELDS: 16-18
For coconut panna cotta
400ml coconut cream
100 ml coconut milk
250g coconut yogurt, room temperature
4 lemongrass stalks
7 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp agar agar powder
2 tbsp hot water
For Mango Melba:
3 alphonso mangoes/ 1 1/2 cup mango pulp
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Alphonso mango, diced into 1cm cubes
Few Mint leaves
Coconut shavings, toasted
16-18 shot glasses, 30 ml capacity each
Bruise lemongrass with the back of knife and cut into 2 inch pieces. Pour coconut cream in a saucepan, add lemongrass and heat the cream for 5 minutes on medium to low fire. Do not boil the cream.
Pour the cream in a bowl along with lemongrass, cool it room temperature. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge overnight to accentuate the flavours of lemongrass.
In a small bowl put agar agar powder, pour hot water on top and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Remove coconut cream from the fridge, strain it in a bowl through a fine sieve, squeezing lemongrass with the back of a spoon to let out all the extract from it.
In a small saucepan, pour coconut milk, sugar and soaked agar agar and heat it until agar agar is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Pour it into the strained cream, and mix to combine well.
Using a hand whisker, whisk the coconut yogurt and add it to the coconut cream mixture. Gently whisk everything together to incorporate. Transfer to a pouring jug.
Place the shot glasses slanted in a small muffin tray. Gently pour the prepared coconut cream up to the rim of glasses and carefully place the tray in the fridge to let it set for 3-4 hours.
For Mango Melba:
Blend the mango pulp, sugar and lemon juice together and make the purée. Transfer to a pouring jug.
Remove set panna cotta shot glasses, place them straight upwards on a tray. Pour the mango melba up to the rim and stick it in the fridge until used.
Garnish with diced mangoes, mint leaves and toasted coconut shards.
Alternatively, pour the cream in silicon or metallic moulds. Let it set for 10-12 hours or overnight.
Pour the prepared mango melba in the serving goblets or deep bowls.
To serve the panna cotta, dip the moulds for 3-5 seconds in water and unmould on to the mango melba.
Serve garnished with diced mangoes and coconut shards or just as it is.
I have made it vegan, but if you are not on dietary restrictions you can replace it with gelatin powder or sheets.
For making mango melba, you can adjust the quantity of sugar and lemon by adding more or less according to the sweetness of the mangoes.
If you wish to make it bit creamy, heat the mango purée and add a small knob of butter to it. It’s completely optional.
You can completely skip the sugar and lemon if you don’t want to. Just purée the mangoes and use.