Really a pretty great thing.
After a long day at the lab (currently participating in a long but fascinating internship involving incredibly novel anticancer research, and I couldn’t be more grateful at this point in time), I relished a wholesome family dinner, then tried to resist a nighttime urge to bake, or do anything at all in the kitchen. As usual, I failed miserably.
I don’t like to stick to a certain theme more than once or twice at a go, but after making kaya mochi just a few days ago, there lingered the odd inclination to play around with one of my favourite childhood spreads once again. Kaya, if you don’t know already, is the most delicious South East Asian coconut pandan spread, which to me is right on par with drippy, sweet, delicious almond butter or a lovingly homemade marmalade– yes it’s that sublime. Pandan is the tropical leaf from which kaya is made from. Earthy, sticky, sweet. There are lots of made-for-toast spreads out there that I adore, but kaya is childhood, kaya is rich nonchalance. What I spread on my burnt toast with butter, each bite a sticky mess of equal parts green and white (from unmelted butter).
This recipe is based on one of my favourite personal recipes– soda water waffles! Clickidy click that link for a classic version, or if you don’t really have a thing for kaya/anything pandan-flavoured. It’s the soda water that breathes life into the batter, added just before the kiss of heat, making the final result as light and airy as ever. Another perk? Made using sweet potato flour as a rather haphazard and weird experiment, it’s entirely gluten-free. Haphazard because this is my first time experimenting with sweet potato flour, which is one of the finest, almost delicate flours I’ve come across. Everything made with it will be of a relatively thin consistency, permeated with an au natural chew. Definitely looking into using it more, for what I’m not sure just yet; I’m only excited to incorporate more gluten-free options to accommodate any of you coeliacs out there. Of course, you can substitute this with normal flour, and this will yield a slightly less chewy and probably more refined-looking waffle. Indeed, this isn’t the prettiest of waffles, but goodness the outside crisp is outrageous. The chew on this is also slightly ridiculous, and funnily enough reminds me of that kaya mochi I made not too long ago. An eerie similarity resulting from subconscious fashioning of the past.
Pandan waffles (makes 6-7 thin Swedish waffles, modified from here)
240g sweet potato flour (substitute with 200g all-purpose flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
3 heaping tbsp store-bought or homemade kaya
1 drop pandan extract (bought at your local oriental store)
80g melted, unsalted butter
1 cup soda water
Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients– flour, leavening agents, salt and sugar. Add the egg, milk, pandan extract, melted butter, kaya, and lastly, the soda water. Cook in the preheated iron according to the iron’s instructions. In my Sevren waffle maker, it took 4-5 minutes before the edges went crisp and golden.
These freeze wonderfully. Let the waffles cool on a cooling rack, before layering them with pieces of parchment between each waffle so they don’t stick together when you take them out the next morning. The next morning, take them out, microwave for 20 seconds, then stick in the toaster until golden and crisp again. Go wonderfully with banana, anything coconut-themed (I used coconut sugar), and peanut butter!