We all know waffles, right? A light, slightly eggy cake cooked in a waffle iron so that it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. We enjoy it with a pat of butter and real maple syrup. Some people eat waffles with fried chicken as a savory Southern twist.
The Southeast Asians put their own twist on the waffle by adding a bit of pandan extract to the batter. Pandan, or screwpine, is a tropical plant that has fans of long, green leaves that, when cooked, imparts a sweet, pleasingly fragrant aroma to whatever it is cooked with. We used whole pandan leaves to infuse our nasi lemak coconut rice dish.
Here’s a pandan waffle recipe that makes a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert so good, you won’t want to stop eating them. It is a tried and true recipe, something we make quite often. The recipe comes from food blogger Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen, who is the author of “Into the Vietnamese Kitchen“.
1 cup bleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (OR 1 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp baking soda)
1 egg, whites separated from the yolk
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp pandan extract
(You can use vanilla extract if you don’t have the pandan, but then it really wouldn’t be pandan waffles anymore, now would it? Find pandan extract in the baking section of your local Asian market.)
*If you double the recipe, most cans of coconut milk will be less than 2 cups, just add water to get correct liquid amount.
*Sugar can be halved for less sweet waffles.
*Self-raising flour can be used in place of flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
1. Turn on your waffle iron.
2. In one bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk, melted butter, egg yolk, and pandan extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently stir it in. Switch to a folding motion towards the end to incorporate all the flour. The batter will be a little lumpy and thick, but the important thing is not to overmix it.
3. Whisk the egg white until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg white into the batter.
4. Now here comes the easy part. When the iron is hot, ladle some of the pandan waffle batter onto the grid. Close the lid and go get a plate and a fork. Breathe in that wonderful pandan aroma (but be careful not to stick your nose into the steam rising from the waffle maker!) Tell your tummy to stop growling already, because in a couple of minutes it’s going to be mighty happy.
5. When the waffle maker signals that your pandan waffle is ready, lift it out with a fork onto your waiting plate. Put the fork down. Resist the urge to pick up the waffle and jam it into your mouth. Wait for it to cool a little. If you don’t, you’ll give yourself first-degree burns on your fingertips and that little piece of skin on the roof of your mouth will hang down and bother you for the next two days. Resist!
Go back to step 4 and prep another waffle. There, that ought to be enough time now. Go for it. Forget the fork. Forget syrup. Just pick it up and devour to your heart’s content.
In our house, we double the recipe, sometimes even triple it. The kids love these pandan waffles and so do we. They freeze well (the waffles, not the kids!) and reheat nicely in the toaster.
Somehow, they don’t last too long in the freezer though. Within a couple of days, they’re all gone. Pandan waffles are great for breakfast, snack or dessert. Try it with some vanilla ice cream or, better yet, some azuki bean ice cream. Yum!