I was shopping at a Thai grocery store in Oakland (Mithapheap) for curry paste ingredients and as I was checking out, my nose caught this faint hint of vanilla. It was a small bottle of pandan extract and it was only $1, so I decided to buy a bottle. The first recipe that came in mind was Vietnamese pandan waffles.I just bought a new waffle maker on Black Friday and it was about time I broke its seals.
I’m not a big fan of waffles, except for only two types: pandan and Liège. That’s where the idea came to mind. Why not alter my usual go-to Liège waffle recipe to make some Vietnamese pandan inspired ones? My favorite recipe that I have made countless of times has been from Lottie + Doof, mainly because it was adapted from Blue Bottle’s recipe. If you don’t know what is a Liège waffle yet, it’s a waffle with yeast that makes it larger and chewier than a regular Belgian waffle. But what really sets this apart from the usual waffle is the Belgian pearl sugar. These chunks of sugar are mixed into the batter and slowly melts and caramelizes as you bake them in the hot waffle iron, creating sweet joy in every bite.
Anyways, back to the pandan. In order to make this similar to the Vietnamese waffles, there were 3 modifications I made to the Lottie + Doof recipe. For the active dry yeast, I replaced the lukewarm water with lukewarm coconut milk and continued to activate the yeast in it.
For the vanilla step, I went ahead and added the vanilla but also a teaspoon of the pandan extract. When I made my first batch of waffles, I thought the flavors were not as pronounced so I dumped about 1/3 cups of shredded coconut flakes. Boy, did the flavor change! You can really taste the coconut now. It also added a slightly different texture to the waffle.
The results? It didn’t exactly turn out the way I had expected. Although there was a slight pandan taste, it still mainly tasted like a regular Liège waffle with a punch of coconut. Everyone still loved them nonetheless!
One thing I may try out in my next batch is using extract from fresh pandan leaves. More details next time!