Butterfly Pea Flowers as Natural Colour Agent

I had just returned from a super long Thai New Year holiday. The traditional Thai New Year is called Songkran, where it is supposed to be the hottest time of the year, the peak of summer.

Traditional Songkran fun: splashing water with each other.

The actual Songkran day is on the 13th of April every year. The Thais visit the temple in the early morning, listening to monks’ preaching and making merits (offering food to monks or money to the temple). After this morning ceremony, people will spend the rest of the day visiting relatives and friends and throughout the day there will be most likely be free flow of food and probably alcohol, just like any other new years. 🙂

While I was away on holiday, I came across the versatile plant that seem to grow everywhere in the country side. This plant is called Butterfly Pea. The Thais use it for cooking (as a natural colour for desserts and sticky rice), making tea (boiled fresh or dried flowers in water and squeeze half a lime juice when the liquid is cooled), and even in beauty products such as shampoo.

Butterfly Pea Flowers are lovely shade of purple/indigo.

Butterfly Pea flowers are lovely shade of purple/indigo.

My children and I enjoyed collecting these flowers from the garden. It was a simply activity, introducing them to the nature and the benefits we reap from things that grow around us. 🙂 We collected quite a lot to make a big pot of tea!

Freshly picked flowers

Freshly picked flowers from the garden!

Below are some photos showing the Thai desserts coloured with the flower extract.

Beautiful Thai desert coloured with Butterfly Pea extract (Image by ilovethaicooking.wordpress.com)

Cute Thai dessert

Sticky rice served with durian ice cream and coconut cream on top

Due to the natural deep pigment of the flowers when smashes the purple patels, the Butterfly Pea flower is said to “provide anthocyanin to improve eyesight, treat opthalmitis and eye infections, nourish hair, provide antioxidant and boost body immunity. Clinical research in butterfly pea indicates that it has potential health effects against eye degeneration caused by diabetes, glaucoma, cataract and other eye related problems”.

It is also quite common to paint the juice from the Butterfly Pea flowers on children’s eyebrows to darken eyebrows on children. 😛 Now this is beauty starts young, isn’t it? Unfortunately I do not have any picture showing you how it’s done.

This is fun writing about thai herbs! Until next time, wish you keep beautiful and healthy!

xxx Chic Mum


2 thoughts on “Butterfly Pea Flowers as Natural Colour Agent

  1. marisaporter 18/04/2013 at 12:30 PM Reply

    I LOVE Thai food. I love all the coconut and spices. I am so glad I was wrong when I initially (and kind of stupidly considering the spelling) read butterfly pee. This sounds much yummier!!

    • chicmum 19/04/2013 at 1:49 AM Reply

      HAHAHAHA Butterfly pee?? 😮

      Yes, Thai food has so many flavours! In a proper meal say dinner, you should have, according to the Thais, all kinds of flavours including sour, sweet, spicy, bitter, salty. They always finish their food with a dessert and fruits.

      Can you cook Thai food? 🙂

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