Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Calamansi Chia Seed Loaf #recipe by Mia P. Manansala @MPMtheWriter

Calamansi Chia Seed Loaf

Recipe testing for the books in my Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series is so much fun, and my favorite version of “productive procrastinating.” I just turned in edits on Book 2, titled HOMICIDE AND HALO-HALO, and there’s a scene where my protagonist, Lila, is brainstorming ways to put Filipino spins on American coffee shop classics. 

One of her best friends mentions loving lemon poppy seed muffins, but they’re often too sweet and requested a healthier version. The lemon-poppy seed combination is one of my favorites as well, and I knew I had to make my own version using calamansi, a citrus fruit native to the Philippines, in place of lemon. The chia seeds came about because I was out of poppy seeds the day I wanted to test the recipe, but had plenty of chia seeds--they were the perfect substitute because they not only provide the characteristic appearance and texture, they also added a nice bit of nutrition and protein!

I made it into a loaf instead of muffins out of sheer laziness, but I’m sure the batter would make excellent muffins as long as you adjust the baking time. I was trying to make a less sweet version than the usual store-bought pastries, and these taste just fine on their own. But I love a good zing of citrus, so if you want more calamansi flavor, I suggest serving with calamansi or lemon curd and/or using the optional glaze.

I love a strong citrus flavor in my bakes, which is hard to achieve without tons of zest. Does anyone have tips on how to bring out the citrus flavor without extra zest? Calamansi are tiny and I can't get them fresh in Chicago.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • ¼ cup calamansi juice
  • 1 TBSP calamansi extract (optional)
  • Zest of one lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, covering the pan with foil halfway through to cook evenly without burning the top.
  7. To test for doneness, poke the center with a knife or chopstick. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
  8. Cool in pan completely. Glaze if desired, or serve with citrus curd, marmalade, butter, or other accompaniments.

Optional glaze:

Mix ½ cup powdered sugar with 1 TBSP calamansi juice and drizzle on cooled loaf. This makes a small amount for a light drizzle, so double the recipe if you prefer more glaze.

Cast of Characters

Mix dry ingredients

Mix wet ingredients

Add wet ingredients to dry bowl, mix until just combined, then scrape batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in a 350 F oven for 50-60 minutes, covering with foil halfway through bake time.

Poke with knife or chopstick in center to test for doneness. If it comes out clean, it's done. Cool loaf in pan.

Remove loaf from pan when cool and serve with optional drizzle or other accompaniments.

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One of BuzzFeed’s Highly Anticipated Mystery Novels of 2021!
The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

Order from my local indies for signed, personalized copies:  
The Book Table (Oak Park, IL) 
Centuries & Sleuths (Forest Park, IL) 


  1. What a clever idea to trade the two ingredients for other ones.

    1. Thanks, Libby! They were natural swaps for me since I almost always have both ingredients in my fridge/pantry.