Updated: Oct 19
The Secret Ingredient for Colorful and Healthy Cooking
I recently had the pleasure of taking part in another three day photography challenge. The challenge had an overall theme (usually color based) and then three subthemes for each day. This time the colour of the challenge was blue. Given that there are not too many naturally occurring blue foods I started doing my research. One natural blue dye is Spirulina (a type of algae). Although it is full of vitamins and minerals I have read that the flavor is sea-weed like (no big surprise there). I was pretty sure I wanted to bake something blue for the challenge, so wanted to find something a bit more neutral. That is when I came across Blue Butterfly Pea Flowers.
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Let me tell you, if you're someone like me, who loves to experiment with unique and vibrant ingredients, then you need to try cooking and baking with butterfly pea flower. This beautiful flower, also known as Clitoria ternatea, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cuisine in Southeast Asia, but it's now gaining popularity around the world thanks to its mesmerizing blue hue and numerous health benefits. The flavor is lovely as well. Lightly sweet and floral, similar to camomile. No wonder it is also known as Blue Matcha.
What is Butterfly Pea Flower?
Butterfly pea flower is a plant that grows in many parts of Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The flower's name comes from its unique shape, which looks like a butterfly's wings. The petals of the flower are dried and used to make a vivid blue tea, which is then used as an ingredient in many dishes and drinks.
Butterfly Pea Flower in Cooking and Baking
Aside from its stunning color, butterfly pea flower is also known for its versatility in the kitchen. You can use it in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory, to add a pop of color and a subtle floral flavor.
Here are some ideas for how you can use butterfly pea flower in your cooking and baking:
Blue Rice - Add a few dried butterfly pea flowers to your rice when cooking it. The result is a vibrant blue hue that makes your dish stand out. Serve it with stir-fried veggies or grilled meats for a visually stunning and flavorful meal.
Blue Smoothie - Blend some frozen blueberries, a banana, and a teaspoon of butterfly pea flower powder to create a refreshing and healthy smoothie. You can also add in some Greek yogurt and honey for extra creaminess and sweetness.
Blue Noodles - Mix a few teaspoons of butterfly pea flower powder into your pasta dough to create blue-hued noodles. Serve them with your favorite sauce and some fresh herbs for a colorful and tasty dish.
Blue Cakes and Baked Goods - Butterfly pea flower powder can also be used in baking to create beautiful blue cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods. Mix the powder into your batter, and watch as the heat of the oven transforms it into a gorgeous blue hue.
Health Benefits of Butterfly Pea Flower
Not only is butterfly pea flower a stunning and tasty ingredient, but it's also packed with health benefits. The flower is rich in antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It's also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Butterfly pea flower is also believed to have cognitive benefits, thanks to its content of anthocyanins. These are a type of flavonoid that can improve brain function and memory. Some studies have even suggested that butterfly pea flower may help reduce anxiety and improve mood.
Butterfly pea flower is a unique and fascinating ingredient that can add both beauty and health benefits to your cooking and baking. Whether you're making blue rice, blue smoothies, or blue cakes, this flower is sure to impress your guests and leave a lasting impression. So go ahead and experiment with butterfly pea flower in your kitchen – you never know what delicious and colorful creations you'll come up with!