Mixing: Pour the milk into the pot and add the vanilla if you are making vanilla pudding. Sift cornstarch, salt, cocoa (if you are making chocolate pudding), and sugar together, and mix with the milk.If there are lumps, strain to make a completely uniform mixture and remove any solids that did not dissolve.
Cooking: Bring to medium heat, and continue stirring uninterruptedly for 10 minutes, or until the consistency is a little more liquid than condensed milk. Don't worry if it seems too runny, it will thicken in the next steps. If you are serving it as breakfast, see notes below.Remove from heat.
Cooling: Pour into another bowl and continue stirring until it cools to room temperature. This will help it thicken a bit and prevent it from forming a crust as it cools.Pour into serving bowls and place in the refrigerator to chill slightly (half an hour to an hour). The cold in the refrigerator will help it finish thickening.
Serving: Remove from the refrigerator and top with some toasted coconut (this is optional).
You can make chocolate or vanilla pudding, or make both to serve in layers (as in the photo). The nutritional information is calculated for only one (chocolate).Use almond milk if you want a strict vegan version.If you don't have a vanilla bean, substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract.If you want to serve it hot for breakfast, use ¾ cup of cornstarch in the first step, as it should have the final pudding consistency right you take it off the heat (it thickens a little more as it cools).