Sunday, March 2, 2014

Vietnamese Pandan Waffles

No, that isn't a St. Patty's Day waffle. Ever since getting a wafflemaker for Christmas, J and I have been experimenting with an array of sweet and savory waffle creations. Ranging from Korean Pajeon Waffles to Cheddar Bacon Scallion Waffles and the ultimate Liege Waffle, the possibilities have been endless. It was only up until recently that I discovered the use of our waffle iron to make Vietnamese desserts. 

As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate my culture and its food more and am slowly incorporating Vietnamese recipes into my own repertoire.  My mom tipped me onto a Vietnamese cooking show on YouTube and the recipe below is based on Bep Nha Ta Nau which translate to My Home Kitchen. I came across the waffle recipe from this channel. When my parents came for a recent visit, I knew pandan waffles was something I wanted to make with my mom.

Are pandan waffles a fairly new Vietnamese creation? Mom never came across them during her childhood but we're no strangers to the classic Vietnamese flavors of pandan and coconut milk. No pandas were harmed in the making of pandan extract. Pandan is a floral green grass abundantly used in Vietnamese cooking and has a striking green color when blended. It has a unique fragrant and herby flavor that is subtly sweet and almost vanilla-like. It's most commonly paired with coconut milk in desserts and the marriage of these ingredients is magical. Here's a loose translation of the recipe:

Pandan Waffles (adapted from Uyen Thy's Banh Kep La Dua recipe)
Makes approx. 3 Belgian-sized waffles

Ingredients: 
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 5 tbls sugar depending on how sweet you want your waffle to be
  • 1 14oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder or 1/2 packet of Alsa French baking powder
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of tapioca flour (can be substituted with an additional cup of AP for a total of 2 cups of flour)
  • 1/4 tsp of pandan extract 
Directions:
  • Beat eggs with sugar and mix until pale yellow and sugar is dissolved.
  • Add can of coconut milk and baking powder and mix until blended.
  • Add cups of flour and mix until thoroughly blended, scraping the sides. 
  • Add pandan extract and mix evenly.
  • Let waffle batter rest for 30 minutes.
  • Follow your waffle iron instructions. Mine takes an average of 4 minutes. 
Some tips: 
  • Thuy's recipe actually calls for 2 cups of AP flour. I substituted one of the cups with tapioca flour. This created a light and crispy shell with a chewy, mochi-like interior. These ingredients with tapioca flour are basically the makings of one of my favorite Vietnamese desserts called banh bo nuong (a baked honeycomb cake). This waffle version takes much less bake time and is equally as satisfying. 
  • No tapioca flour? No problem. Using all AP flour basically creates your typical fluffy American waffle texture.
  • I found my pandan extract at the Asian Market on Central Ave. Coincidentally, I also found frozen pandan leaves in the freezer section of the Asian Market on Colvin Ave. For the natural route, steep a small bunch of pandan leaves in coconut milk with the lid on for 10 minutes to create a more subtle flavor without the bright green color from the extract and artificial flavors. If you can't find pandan extract, substitute with 1tsp of vanilla. But green makes it more fun, and the flavor is much more powerful in the extract. 
  • Not everyone speaks Vietnamese but here's the video if you want to follow along: 


My mom is now addicted to pandan waffles and wants a waffle iron of her own! Ours is a Presto Flipside from Amazon and has worked wonders. It was fun sharing an American-Vietnamese fusion recipe with my mom. My dad and J are the lucky beneficiaries of our creations.

5 comments:

  1. Ah,,,,,Thanks for this recipe! I shall make this today!

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  2. Thanks for recipe. I guess it may depend on what part of vn your mom is from. This is very common in Saigon. I grew up eating this when my immigrant aunt came from vn in the 80s and lived with us in Florida. I also ate it on the streets of vn when I went there to visit.

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  3. Hi, I tried your recipe today but the result was not so good, probably my fault and maybe you can help me get your recipe right. It came out too chewy like Mochi skin, was flat, and lacked both pandan and coconut and buttery flavor that I'm used to from the stores. I think I did not blend the tapioca starch and flour well, there were lumps in my batter, which most American pancake recipes say is what you want. Another thing is that perhaps 1 cup tapioca starch to 1 cup flour is too much. maybe tune it down to 1/2 tapioca starch, and 1.5 cups flour? Maybe adding a few Tbs of butter too for that satisfying buttery note.

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    Replies
    1. try 2/3 thirds of each rice flour, tapioca flour, and AP. also there is a difference between tapioca starch and tapioca flour if that is what happened.

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  4. I made my pandan waffles with this recipe, and it tasted so good! Since I didn't have coconut milk, I substituted it with regular milk, and it tasted similar with the ones you buy at vietnamese bakeries, or in VN. Fyi: It's okay if you don't have enough pandan extract, just make sure you mix the flours and milk nicely, and the result would be just fine. This was my first time making these so yay! When you add regular milk instead of coconut milk, maybe that's why it's kind of runny, but it will come out fluffy and chewy. The thicker your batter is, the thicker and fluffier your waffles are.

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