Friday, October 23, 2015

Updated. Screwpine (pandan) Coconut Pancakes using bottled essence

I miss the aroma and taste of screwpine or pandan. It's a long-leaf shrub native in Southeast Asia and used as an aromatic and flavoring in cooking. It imparts a sweet smell, a nutty taste in any dish you make and gives a light, pastel green color too when extracted. 

Screwpine/pandan is best paired with coconut meat, coconut water and milk. In the Philippines, freshly cut pandan leaves are folded crosswise 3-4 times and placed in a pot of uncooked rice. When the rice is cooked, it gives a fresh aroma and herby flavor to the diminutive steamed rice and make your meal a bit more elegant. So whenever possible I can grab hold of it in an Asian store (which is seldom)-I would in several bunches. It can be freezed and it keeps for at least 3 months.

For today's recipe, I only have the bottled extract/essence to use. This is my first time using bottled Pandan extract. It is also more like a thicker version of a crepe instead of a regular, fluffy pancakes.

I love pancakes. Growing up-we call it "hotcakes" and it was a weekly treat in the house. Being poor and always strapped for cash, my Ma never experimented with extra ingredients: it was always vanilla flavor and it was fine with me and my baby brother.

Pre-note, Option 1: if you have some screwpine leaves, extract a couple teaspoons of juices from 1 leaf by chopping it and soaking them in the water you will use in the recipe. Strain the chopped leaf off the liquid. Set the liquid aside. If you do not have coconut essence/extract, soak the chopped screwpine in 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon of coconut milk; lessen the coconut oil to 1 tablespoon. Strain the chopped leaf well off the coconut milk; set aside.

To make 5 medium size pancakes, you will need: 

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (This will look like a thicker version of a crepe; thicker, regular pancakes could use 2 t.)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 c water or more to make a thick batter (Use 3/4 cup for thicker pancakes. You can also use fat-free coconut milk.)
2 drops of green food color (optional) 
  • Note: Your pancake will have a natural screwpine color if you use Option 1 above of flavoring your pancake.

3 tablespoons cooking oil (coconut, vegetable, canola, light olive oil) 
plus 2 drops on the pan for each pancake.

1 teaspoon screwpine essence 
1/2 teaspoon coconut essence


Preheat the pan on medium heat. While waiting for the pan to get hot, beat all the wet ingredients, 20 seconds. 
In another medium bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Set aside.

Brush or smear the pan with cooking oil. This extra oil for the pan is not in the recipe.

Lightly stir the batter before pouring a 1/4 c of batter into the pan and cover to cook; 30seconds each side. If not covering, it's ready to flip when bubble starts to appear on top. Repeat the process until all batter is used. 

 Coconut milk Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons coconut milk, less or more if desired thick or runny glaze.

Mix vigorously in a medium bowl. Use immediately.


Just pour the glaze on top of each pancake and enjoy. 

To make it more scrumptious, garnish with: 

finely crushed roasted peanuts or roasted coconut flakes (golden brown and lightly crunchy) or plain, sweetened coconut. 

You can also make 'latik' and sprinkle it on these pancakes. Latik is "toasted coconut milk curd".

To make latik: just let a can of full-fat coconut milk boil then simmer, stirring constantly until some coconut milk curdle and  floating on top of the oil. Keep stirring until brown and toasted. Do not burn.

How about all? 

Happy breakfast!