This weekend, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite childhood foods, pandan waffles, but make it Mickey style!
If you’re a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, chances are you’ve probably had some pandan-flavored food or dessert, most notable by the deep and vibrant green color it lends to the dish. I grew up in a heavily Vietnamese-cultured household, so I got all the Vietnamese goods, and since I already grew up with a love for waffles, the pandan waffles were just icing on the cake!
But if you’ve never tried before, and don’t know what pandan is, no worries!
What is pandan?
Pandan is a plant that is widely grown in Southeast Asia, which is why so many Southeast Asian cuisines feature this flavor! (think Vietnamese, Filipino, Malaysian, Thai, etc.) Some dishes use the leaves to wrap around foods like sticky rice (they typically either use pandan leaves or banana leaves), and others extract the flavor from the leaves to infuse into the dish itself. Pandan has a very unique aroma that is both lightly sweet and grassy, and is often an excellent flavor pairing with coconut.
Where can you buy it?
If you live near an Asian supermarket, you’ll most likely be able to find them there in fresh, frozen, or paste form. While fresh leaves are probably the best choice for a more fragrant flavor, frozen leaves are a great substitute that will also last you a bit longer if you don’t intend to use them all at once.
There’s a chance you may be able to find this at some specialty grocery stores, but I have yet to try to look for them there. In the event that you’re not near an Asian grocery store, you can always purchase a pandan paste like the one here.
I was able to find frozen pandan leaves at my local 99 Ranch Market in the frozen section, so that would be a good place to check out if you’re looking for the actual leaves.
So let’s get baking!
Classic Vietnamese pandan waffles have a pretty different texture compared to American-style waffles. They’re a bit crispy on the outside, but very chewy with a nice bite to it on the inside! To create this great texture, we’ll be using a mixture of tapioca starch, rice flour, and all-purpose flour.
You can also find tapioca starch and rice flour at your local Asian grocery stores; the Asian foods aisles at big box grocery stores may also stock these ingredients. Otherwise you can always find them online! I’ll be providing links to these ingredients below!
When it comes to rice flour, you have a couple options between regular rice flour and glutinous rice flour. Rice flour is milled from long-grain/medium-grain rice whereas glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice flour) is milled from short-grain sweet white rice. There’s a slight texture difference in these two flours, but either rice flour could be used for this recipe. I like using mochiko flour in my recipes, but that’s based on preference!
The Baking Process
Before getting things started, I needed to get my pandan extract prepared. Since I purchased frozen pandan leaves, I took out about 20-30 pieces and let them defrost. If you’re using fresh leaves, you can use about 8 leaves, but with frozen ones you’ll want to use more because some of the flavor could be lost. After rinsing them with water, I added them to a food processor with half a cup of water and processed it until there were no large chunks of leaves. Then I strained the mixture, making sure to squeeze as much liquid out of the remaining pulp as possible. If you’re using pandan paste, you can use about a half teaspoon of paste mixed with a half cup of water.
This recipe is fairly straightforward. After mixing all the dry ingredients and all the wet ingredients separately, I sifted the dry ingredients into the wet mixture about a third at a time and folded until the batter was just mixed and still had some lumps (similar to other common waffle recipes). Here, you’ll want to let the batter rest for a minimum of one hour. This waiting time is key to getting the right waffle texture. By allowing the batter to rest, the starch molecules will absorb the liquid, which results in a thicker batter, creating the crispy outside and fluffy and chewy inside. You can also refrigerate the batter and allow it to rest for 24 hours to make the next day. Patience is key.
After the batter is well-rested, whip out your favorite waffle maker and get flipping! I don’t have a Mickey waffle maker, but I do like my Mickey waffles, so I try to make what I like to call “lo-fi” Mickey shaped waffles!
These waffles came out so great! I love the bright green color that shines through the golden brown outside. Because of the mochiko flour and the tapioca starch the texture of the waffles was so yummy and chewy. And the aroma from the pandan mixed with coconut lends a lightly sweet and nutty flavor that brings back so many childhood memories!
I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane and give this delicious recipe a try!
Mickey-Shaped Pandan Waffles
ºoº 20-30 pandan leaf segments (or roughly 8 leaves) or 1/2 tsp pandan paste
ºoº 1/2 cup water
ºoº 1/2 cup mochiko flour
ºoº 2 cups tapioca starch
ºoº 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
ºoº 1 cup monkfruit sweetener
ºoº 2 tsp baking powder
ºoº 1/4 tsp salt
ºoº 3 eggs
ºoº 1 can coconut milk
ºoº 1 tbsp cooking oil
Using pandan leaves
Process the pandan leaves with water until there are no more large chunks of leaves
Strain the pandan extract
Using pandan extract
Mix together the 1/2 tsp pandan paste and water
Mix together the mochiko flour, tapioca starch, all-purpose flour, monkfruit sweetener, baking powder, and salt
Whisk the eggs
Add the pandan extract, coconut milk, and cooking oil to the eggs and mix together
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and fold until just combined
Let the batter rest for at least one hour
Prepare your waffle iron, mix the batter to prevent separation and ladle the batter onto the iron
ºoº Depending on your texture preference, you can use either mochiko flour (glutinous rice flour) or rice flour. The glutinous rice flour will create a stickier batter
ºoº I used monkfruit sweetener to substitute for granulated sugar, but regular sugar can be used here
ºoº I use coconut milk for my recipe, but this can be substituted with coconut cream which is much thicker and creamier than coconut milk
** Note: some links that I’ll be providing are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase through my link I’ll receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you!