This Pandan Waffle recipe makes the most incredibly delicious waffles of all time. Crispy outside with a tender, fluffy, pandan-flavored inside, these Vietnamese waffles are the perfect comfort food any time of day.
What is Pandan?
Pandan is a tropical plant that grows throughout Southeast Asia. The leaves of the Pandan plant have a sweet, albeit grassy flavor, reminiscent of rose, vanilla, almond, and coconut.
Interesting fact–Pandan has the same aroma compound as basmati rice. So in order to make plain, white rice taste more like expensive basmati rice, people will often add a bit of pandan extract to their white rice.
Vietnamese Waffles Vs. American Waffles
Differences in batter:
While the batters for the classic regular waffles (American) and Vietnamese waffles are similar, Vietnamese waffles have the addition of rice flour, tapioca powder, and most importantly, Pandan paste.
No maple syrup!
American waffles are enjoyed with tabs of butter and loads of maple syrup (or Karo syrup if you’re from America’s South), but Vietnamese waffles are eaten by hand, like a big fluffy cookie. Pandan waffles are common street food in Vietnam, so eating with syrup wouldn’t really make sense from a utility or flavor standpoint.
Electric vs charcoal:
In the west, we make our waffles with electric waffle irons. Authentic Vietnamese waffles are cooked by street vendors in cast-iron molds over hot charcoal.
And hey–if you’ve got a cast-iron waffle mold and some charcoal handy, definitely go this route!
Pandan Extract vs. Fresh Pandan Leaves
What’s the difference between Pandan Extract and Pandan Leaves? Simply put, pandan extract is easier to use, easier to acquire, and creates a consistent, unique flavor in your waffles.
It also has a more potent flavor than pandan leaves, and itadds the iconic green color to your waffles. The use of Pandan leaves, on the other hand, results in a lighter, more subtle green.
I buy my Pandan extract at my local Asian market or via Amazon. This is the Pandan flavour that I recommend. It costs about $3 on Amazon.
When I was living in Seattle, I would often visit the international district and hit up Uwajimaya for some Pocky or a boba tea. The more time I spent in the international district, the more I fell in love with Asian cuisine–particularly Vietnamese food.
I was used to eating my favorite Vietnamese comfort foods–Phở and Bánh mì. One fateful morning, my friends and I decided to try Vietnamese breakfast. We found a small, hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese bakery (a great omen) and ordered Vietnamese Pandan Waffles(Banh Kep La Dua). My world has never been the same.
3 Reasons This is the Best Vietnamese Waffle Recipe
While there are a handful of recipes for pandan waffles out there, ours is the best for a few key reasons:
- We add authentic pandan extract: By adding pandan extract to our waffles, we get the classic & popular green color while adding sweet, aromatic flavor.
- We add shredded coconut: We go a step further and add shredded coconut to our recipe. The texture and mouth-feel are insane.
- We let the batter cool: We let the batter rest and cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours prior to making our waffles. This allows the gluten to expand which results in insanely tender, fluffy waffles. It also prevents overcooking or burning, since the batter has a uniform temperature.
7 Tips for Perfect Vietnamese Pandan Waffles
1. Grease the waffle iron with vegetable oil
Butter has a lower burn point, so if you leave your waffle batter in for too long, the butter will burn. Vegetable oil, on the other hand, has a much higher burn point. Use the spray kind that comes in a can.
2. Test your waffle batter
Since no waffle maker is the same, each will differ in temperature. If your waffle ends up being raw or overcooked, adjust the temperature before cooking the whole batch of waffles.
3. Eat immediately after cooking
Eat your waffles as soon as they’re done cooking. They’re best when served fresh! And remember, don’t add maple syrup. These are meant to be eaten by hand, like a cookie.
4. Don’t overmix your batter
If you overmix the batter you’ll end up with tougher waffles. You only need to mix until the dry ingredients have been incorporated, or until there aren’t any big lumps. You don’t need a smooth batter.
5. Use a measuring cup to dispense waffle batter
Use a 1 cup measuring cup to measure the batter for each waffle. Not only does this ensure uniformity in waffle size, but it also helps reduce the risk of overfilling your waffle iron.
6. Don’t open the waffle iron prematurely
Whatever you do, try to withstand the temptation to open the waffle iron prematurely.
Once you stop seeing steam coming from the waffle iron, you’ll know the waffles are done cooking. Some waffle irons have light indicators that turn off once the waffles are done cooking.
7. Cook at higher temperature for crispier waffles
If you want golden brown, crispy waffles, turn your waffle iron to the highest setting and cook for 4-5 minutes. If you want a lighter-colored waffle, adjust the heat setting.
How to make Vietnamese Coconut Pandan Waffles:
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose plain flour
- 1-1/2 cups of glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 cup of tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 large eggs (pasture raised have best egg yolks)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups creamy coconut milk
- 3/4 tsp Pandan paste
If you can afford to, buy pasture-raised eggs. They have the best-tasting eggs overall, and divine egg yolks.
Step 1: Melt the butter
Using your microwave, melt your butter for 30 seconds on the lowest power setting. Stir to melt any remaining chunks and then let cool for a bit.
Step 2: Sift Together Dry Ingredients
Grab a separate bowl and sift together the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder, tapioca starch, and salt.
Sifting allows your dry ingredients to remain light and fluffy, rather than compact and helps create a uniform batter.
Step 3: Make the Batter
- With your stand mixer, mix together the eggs (egg white and egg yolk) and sugar in the mixing bowl.
- Next, add the melted butter, pandan extract, and coconut milk. Whisk or mix for 30 seconds.
- Next, add half of the flour mixture (dry ingredients) into the wet ingredients and mix.
- Add the second half of the dry ingredients along with the shredded coconut and continue to mix.
- Make sure to mix gently, on the lowest speed if you’re using a hand or stand mixer, in order to loosen large chunks of dry ingredients.
Your batter doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth! Some lumps are okay.
Step 4: Refrigerate Batter for 3-4 Hours
This isn’t a necessary step, but if you do cool your batter, you’ll have waffles with a much more chewy texture.
Cover your bowl with the batter with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
Step 5: Cook Your Waffles
- Preheat your waffle maker. We want to cook at the highest setting, so make sure you’ve set your waffle iron to the max setting.
- Spray both grills of the waffle iron with canned vegetable oil.
- Using a 1 cup measuring cup, add waffle mix batter to the center of the waffle maker. Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter.
- Close the lid, step back and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Once they’re done cooking, using your tongs to remove them. Set them on a cooling rack and let them cool for 1 minute before eating.
Tip: Most waffle irons come with an LED indicator light. It’ll be lit when cooking and turned off when the waffles are done. Remember, don’t open the waffle iron prematurely!
Pandan Waffle Recipe
- Step 1: Melt the butterUsing your microwave, melt your butter for 30 seconds on the lowest power setting. Stir to melt any remaining chunks and then let cool for a bit.
- Step 2: Sift Together Dry IngredientsGrab a separate bowl and sift together the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder, tapioca starch, and salt.Sifting allows your dry ingredients to remain light and fluffy, rather than compact and helps create a uniform batter.
- Step 3: Make the BatterWith your stand mixer, mix together the eggs (egg white and egg yolk) and sugar in the mixing bowl.Next, add the melted butter, pandan extract, and coconut milk. Whisk or mix for 30 seconds.Next, add half of the flour mixture (dry ingredients) into the wet ingredients and mix.Add the second half of the dry ingredients along with the shredded coconut and continue to mix.Make sure to mix gently, on the lowest speed if you’re using a hand or stand mixer, in order to loosen large chunks of dry ingredients.Your batter doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth! Some lumps are okay.
- Step 4: Refrigerate Batter for 3-4 HoursThis isn’t a necessary step, but if you do cool your batter, you’ll have waffles with a much more chewy texture.Cover your bowl with the batter with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Step 5: Cook Your WafflesPreheat your waffle maker. We want to cook at the highest setting, so make sure you’ve set your waffle iron to the max setting.Spray both grills of the waffle iron with canned vegetable oil.Using a 1 cup measuring cup, add waffle mix batter to the center of the waffle maker. Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter.Close the lid, step back and cook for 4-5 minutes.Once they’re done cooking, using your tongs to remove them. Set them on a cooling rack and let them cool for 1 minute before eating.
Frequently asked questions:
Can I make waffles without a waffle iron?
Can I use this waffle batter to make a Pandan pancake recipe?
Dumbledore once said, “Waffles are just mathematic pancakes.” And since the two batters are nearly identical, you can cook these in a non-stick frying pan and make pand-cakes instead!
What should I use if I don’t have any Pandan Extract?
Pandan extract adds a distinct flavor and color to your waffles and is hard to replicate. Since the flavor is closest to vanilla, you can compensate by adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and some green food coloring to your batter.
How do I store my pandan waffles?
These are best served fresh. But they also freeze really well! To prep for freezing, stack the cooked waffles in a freezer bag or airtight container with pieces of wax or parchment paper between each waffle.
If you want to be really fancy, use a FoodSaver to suck all the pesky oxygen from your bags.
How do I reheat my pandan waffles?
To reheat your waffles simply use a toaster or a toaster oven. If you have neither of these, bake in the oven for a few minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Cream
What’s the difference between coconut cream and coconut milk? It all comes down to fat content.
Coconut Milk: Coconut milk contains about 9%-16% fat. If it has a fat content of below 9%, it’s considered light coconut milk. Light coconut milk is most often found in coconut milk cartons and is used as a regular milk substitute.
Coconut Cream: Coconut cream contains about 19%-22% fat and has the consistency of heavy whipping cream. You can use coconut cream as a substitute for heavy cream in most recipes, including ice cream.
We’re using canned coconut milk for this pandan waffle recipe. You can substitute a different type of milk if you’d prefer, but keep in mind it will change the overall flavor of the waffles.
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Is this your new favorite comfort food? Do you have any Vietnamese coconut waffle recipe tips?
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