Je Mange. Donc, Je Suis.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Butterfly Pea Flower & Honey Drink, Thai Style

Let's cool down political heat in my country with this botanical refreshing drink, Thai style, made of Butterfly Pea flowers (or "Dhok Anchan" ดอกอัญชัน in Thai)...and usually prepared as a homely yet extraordinary welcome drink.
I was first introduced to this amazing flower when I was a mischievous 'n' curious little girl. I say "Amazing"... not only for its various benefits for Thai cuisine, but also for its health & beauty remedies. It is said that the butterfly pea flower is one of the most valuable herbal plants in Thailand. You may think of its sweet fragrance...Nope! Butterfly Pea Flower does not possess pleasantly sweet fragrance, like many other flowers. 
I remember so well... my great-grandmother once told me that many Thai girls who were born before or during WWII, their brows were all painted by their mothers or grandmothers, using this flower in lieu of brow pencil. With my innocent curiosity, I asked her, "Why?". She replied with a smile, "Because of its reputation for enhancing brow and hair growth & strengthening, according to traditional Thai medicine." No wonder, I have seen many shampoo brands & bottles, labeled "butterfly pea extract". Interesting!
As for its cooking benefits, my mother often picks some fresh flowers in her small garden, taking out their green stems and places the blue petals together into water and rice when cooking rice, either using a digitally modern rice cooker or a traditionally classic pot with lid. End result: we get lovely blue rice to please the eyes of the eaters! ;) The fresh flowers can also be dipped in batter and deep-fried, tempura style, and serve with sweet chili sauce, or alternatively, ketchup for the kids. 
According to Thai local wisdom, butterfly pea flowers are squeezed for aqueous extract to be incorporated with coconut milk and other base ingredients to colour Thai desserts in blue and purple colours...now that you get the idea...huh?
And finally the drink, oh yes!: It is called "Nam Dhok Anchan (น้ำดอกอัญชัน)", a syrupy indigo-blue drink, made of butterfly pea flowers, honey and sugar syrup. The drink can also be consumed with some drops of lime juice to create sweet 'n' sour flavour and to turn its indigo-blue colour into purple or pink-purple depending on its intensity of acidity. Next time, I'll have to fulfill my curiosity by mixing a few drops of alkaline water such as young coconut juice, cucumber juice or watermelon juice into the drink...and see how it will turn out! :)  
Anthocyanin is a water-soluble pigment that may appear red, blue, or purple in fruits and vegetables. It is also considered as secondary metabolite that acts as a powerful antioxidant which is stronger than vitamin E. Anthocyanin is richly found in butterfly pea flower, which is a long-time Thai household plant. When anthocyanin is consumed, it helps detoxificate free radicals that damage our cells to prevent the risk of cancer, ageing and keeps our skin healthy. It also stimulates the circulation of blood in small blood vessels, such as terminal blood vessels which enable stronger vision mechanism resulted from better blood circulation. {source: NST FOOD}
Ingredients:
(serving 1 person)
1 glass Blue Butterfly Pea's aqueous extract, from 5-6 flowers
1 tablespoon Organic wildflower Honey 
1 tablespoon Sugar Syrup (or as per your taste)
*drops of lime juice (optional)
Easy How to:
  • Place the flower petals into a glass of hot water and smash with a back of a spoon. Let sit for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes indigo blue.
  • Stir in honey and syrup until well dissolved. Leave to cool or refrigerate.
  • Add in ice cube and/or drops of lime juice.
For Party among Friends:
20-25 Fresh Butterfly Pea Flowers 
1000 ml drinking water
500 g sugar
3-4 tablespoons honey
* Preferably and beautifully served in long drink glasses...and decorate with some remaining flowers... 
Et ben voilà! Tchin-tchin! ;)

3 comments:

  1. Hey Miss Vanilla,
    Love your blog and post on Dok Anchan and especially how you have done the postcard image - Suay Mak! I work with Dok Anchan and Krajeab and have a factory in central Thailand where we grow and export the flowers to my factory in Sydney. These two Thai flowers are my favorite in the world. Many rural Thai still paint the eyebrows of their little girls with Anchan so this tradition still goes on today not just in the past I hear about it all the time. Anchan is also great to slow aging process, improve the memory and brain function and scientific studies have proven this to be true! Amazing little flower. Keep up the great work. lee

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Khun Lee,
    Thank you for dropping by and saying hi with such a constructive & positive comment...apparently a gift...for my creative & passionate labour. It feels good to know... there're people who like our hearty contribution! Thank you!
    p.s There're some homey menus, made of "Krajeab" (Roselle), which will be posted soon. Happy Chinese New Year to you and yours! --Anne

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have this plant n will make drink to surprise my guests....thanks

    ReplyDelete

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