Pandan - what is pandan? Pandan is to Asians, what Vanilla is to the western world. It's a flavour extracted from the Pandanus amaryllifolius (Pandan) leaf which can also be known as the screwpine leaf. Pandan paired with coconut is like the perfect marriage of flavours. If I could add pandan to everything, I would!
You'll commonly see pandan flavoured foods as being a bright flouro green, which I find tends to scare off many people when they first see it, especially if they have never had it before. Pandan is not naturally this green once extracted from the leaves, the colour is actually added to the extract which is commercially available for purchase. This form of pandan favouring is the most commonly used and what I have grown up on. When I see green flavoured sweets (especially of the Asian variety), my immediate though is 'Pandan!'. You do have to be careful to not overuse the extract.
Pandan waffles bring back great childhood memories. I loved the aroma of pandan and coconut filling the house whenever mum was making them (if you have never experienced pandan before, just imagine a house filled with the smell of vanilla). I remember just waiting (im)patiently for the light on the waffle maker to turn green so that I could get my little hands on a hot green waffle. I would then break it up into individual little hearts and eat them one by one. I liked to savour my food, and I still do.
One day I had a pandan waffle craving so hopped on to google to find a recipe. Mum may be the best cook in the world (seriously unbiased opinion here) but she's not the best person to ask for recipes - 'a little bit of this, a little bit of that' doesn't always work so well. Also, she wasn't home that day so I couldn't pick her brain anyway. I ended up taking 'a little bit of this and a little bit of that' from a few recipes and adapted them into my own.
I may have been a little heavy handed with the pandan extract. Didn't quite measure it out with a spoon but I can never get enough of the pandan flavour. It does turn the food a very bright green and you do have to be careful as too much pandan can sometimes give your cakes a bit of a funny feel to the mouth.
Recipe: Pandan and Coconut Waffles
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup dessicated coconut
- 1 egg, seperated
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp pandan extract
- Sift the flour into a bowl, then add the sugar and dessicated coconut and mix through.
- Place the egg yolk, coconut cream, melted butter and pandan extract in another bowl and mix until combined.
- Mix the coconut and pandan mixture into the dry ingredients.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form.
- Fold into the rest of the batter until no streaks are left.
- Heat up your waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer's instructions.
The authentic Vietnamese pandan waffles are usually made in a heart shaped waffle maker. We have one of these at home which is older than I am but I couldn't find it at the time so made do with my Belgian waffle maker. It's not quite the same since they are thicker but the flavours were all there and it was enough to satisfy my pandan and coconut waffle craving.
The next time I made these I had to double the recipe as the waffles walked off the table so fast. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. Pandan and coconut... can it get any better than this?