Butterfly Pea Flowers have recently seen a surge in popularity in recent years. While it may just be a trend in the West, it has long been popular in South East Asia. In fact, Alona and I have a few blue pea flower creepers on the side of our Thailand house. I’ve never really used it with cooking before, but I figure since it’s trending I might as well put out a few posts about it. Of course, to start with I’ll say how to perfectly make Butterfly pea flower tea, since that is what it is most known for.
While butterfly pea flower tea is popular in South East Asia, you may have a hard time getting the flowers at your local grocery store. Luckily you can order them online from retailers like Amazon.
The official name of this flower is actually Clitoria Ternatea, but as that is quite sexual there are a variety of other names used. The most popular is probably Butterfly Pea Flower, but it is also called blue pea, Asian pigeonwings, and just butterfly pea.
Making A Perfect Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
To start, you’ll need to boil water. Of course, most tea recipes begin this way. You need about 4-5 flowers per 250 ml of tea. Roughly a teaspoon of flowers. You can scale this recipe up, just don’t go overboard with the flowers since they really impart a deep blue color. I like to use a tea press so you can pour the liquid out while leaving the flowers behind. Of course, you can just make a big pitcher of it if you prefer.
For perfect butterfly pea flower tea you will pour the water directly onto the dried flowers. I find the best temperature of the water to be 85 degrees Celsius. This gives you a great herbal-earthy flavor and won’t taste burnt.
You should only steep the butterfly pea flower tea for 3-4 minutes. Any less and you’ll get some color, but not much flavor, and any more will leave you with an almost black tasting tea as the flowers have been “cooked.” You can serve this tea in a dainty Asian tea cup, or in a regular mug. It all depends on how you want the presentation to look. People in SEA aren’t fussy. You can also drink the tea cold, just strain the flowers out and put the liquid into the fridge to chill.
While you can drink the tea just like this and completely enjoy it, there are some country specific variations you might like to try. In Thailand and Vietnam the tea is served with honey and lemon. You’ll find it interesting that the color changes from a royal blue to a purple. This is because the lemon acid changes the pH which in turn changes the color.
Recently Butterfly pea flowers are being used in modern cocktail making. When you mix a flower infused spirit with Tonic Water it will turn pink. Here’s how to make Butterfly Pea Flower Infused Vodka and I’ll be uploading Butterfly Pea Flower Infused Gin up on the site shortly.
You can also use the flower flour (get it) to give bread or pasta a blue-ish hue. While I don’t find that particularly appetizing, it is a way to naturally dye foods.
Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
- 1 tsp Butterfly Pea Flower Tea dried flowers (sometimes with dried lemongrass)
- 250 ml Distilled Water
- 1 tsp Honey optional
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice optional
- Boil the water and then let it cool to 85 degrees Celsius.
- Pour the water over the butterfly pea flowers.
- Let steep for no longer than 4 minutes (I usually press it at 3 minutes and start pouring).
- You can optionally mix in honey and lemon juice for a more traditional Thai/Vietnamese serving method.