The Debate Between Tukh Malanga And Chia Seeds


Let’s get one thing straight: tukh malanga and chia seeds are NOT the same thing. It’s a debate that is often kick-started on many forums when someone states that they’re interchangeable. We will try to explain the difference between the two (very similar) seeds and the health benefits that they both offer.

Read: Seeds You Didn’t Know Are Packed With Nutrition!

Tukh Malanga are basil seeds

They’re derived from the Thai basil leaf plant whereas chia seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant (from the mint family). Basil seeds are most commonly found in the South-Asian regions and the latter is more common in Central and South America. Which means that basil seeds are cheaper in Pakistan but chia seeds end up costing a lot more

Differences of the seeds

  • From afar, both the seeds may look similar but upon closer inspection you can see that the shapes and even the color differ.
  • When soaked in water, they will expand into a gelatinous substance. However, basil seeds retain a crunch in the center of the expanded ball of goo.
  • They are both nutritious but in different capacities. Chia seeds are rich in anti-oxidants, omega 3 fatty acids which help raise ‘good cholesterol’ and prevent digestive ailments. Tukh malanga helps the body cool down, is also good for digestion and is rich in iron.
  • Chia seeds do not need to be soaked in advance, simply use them as a topping for salads, smoothie bowls, etc.
    Flax Seeds.

Related: 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

How to use chia seeds and basil seeds

  • Chia seeds can be eaten soaked, raw, toasted, ground- whatever you prefer.
  • Raw and toasted chia seeds are best as toppings for salads, as an addition to breads (even your regular roti), or along with your granola/cereal/smoothie bowl. Try tossing some toasted chia seeds in a bowl of spaghetti with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh basil, salt, pepper and parmesan.
  • Tukh Malanga and chia seeds can both be soaked to expand (20 minutes are enough for both, or you could save prep time by soaking overnight).
  • Use soaked seeds in drinks (think roohafza for a faluda feel, or lemonade for something lighter) or in puddings. Chia pudding recipes are everywhere on the internet but a quick one would be something like this:

2-4 tbsp. seeds, soaked for an hour or overnight in 1 cup milk (coconut, almond, soy, or just regular)

Add in flavorings like orange zest, vanilla essence, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

Sweeten it with stevia, honey, maple syrup (or just skip this step all together)

Top with fresh/frozen/dried fruits, nuts and/or granola

  • You must soak basil seeds before consuming- but they expand faster than chia seeds.
  • Tukh Malanga is a great, quick addition to your everyday cold drinks (even water!) to keep your digestive tract on point- try it in lychee or watermelon juice. You could even set it with some sweetener and gelatin as a topping for fruit-based cheesecakes (YUM).

Related: 5 Refreshing Sharbat Recipes for the Summer

Do you have any unique ways of using these seeds? Let us know in the comment section below!

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