One sure sign that you’re in a Vietnamese bakery is the fragrant aroma of fresh pandan waffles, made to order in a flash–hot off the iron, and invariably just in time for you to enjoy as you wait for your banh mi to be stuffed with thit nuong, pate, and pickled vegetables. Pandan (la dua) is an extremely common flavoring herb with the aroma of vanilla and coconut and is often used to flavor many desserts, and goes particularly well with coconut. Steeped like tea, you can also grind the leaves for get pandan juice, a much more potent flavoring and coloring agent. In America however, most pandan is found in the frozen section of Asian markets and does not have the same punch as fresh pandan. Pandan extract can also be used, in combination with a bit of green food coloring.
We love kitchen gadets and Kim found this waffle iron for $5 in an after Christmas sale. After making our first batch, this waffle iron literally paid for itself, love it! In this recipe, we cheated and used waffle mix as well as both frozen pandan leaves and extract. Andrea Nguyen has a recipe from scratch. Jun blog has a nice post on making pandan juice if you want to avoid green food coloring.
Pandan Waffles Banh Kep La Dua
3 cups waffle batter
1/3 cup oil
1.5 cup coconut milk
1 small bunch of pandan leaves
1 ts pandan extract
1 ts green food coloring
Tie the pandan leaves in a small knot and steep with coconut milk in a small sauce pan, bringing it to slow boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for about 10 minutes. (discard if you are using green food coloring--or follow Jun's blog on how to make pandan juice for color)
In mixing bowl, combine batter, eggs, oil, and steeped coconut milk. Add additional pandan extract and food coloring and mix well. It should be like a pancake consistency.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and follow waffle iron instructions. Serve immediately.
*Cooks note: Waffle mixes may vary so follow instructions of your waffle mix and substitute water with coconut milk. If making pandan juice, you will have to adjust the amount of coconut milk appropriately. If making many, keep on cooling rack so it doesn't go limp and soggy.