While visiting the Gardens by the Bay, I tried a heavenly ice cream coloured like softly blue evening sky. It was flavored with butterfly pea flowers, Bunga telang in Malay or Clitoria ternatea in Latin (I strongly prefer the English or the Malay name...). I had already read about pea flowers as a traditional ingredient for tea and desserts in Sharon Wee's lovely Growing up in a Nonya Kitchen - book, so I was eager to give it a try. Its taste was pleasantly floral and refreshing, not overpowering or perfume-like, as sometimes is the case with desserts made of or with flowers.
Today, I stumbled upon the flower itself during my morning walk. Someone had planted several young plants on the parking strip outside their house and the little bushes were full of flowers. They are supposed to be very easy to grow both in sun and shade, and they usually flower already six weeks after planting the seeds.
To be used for a strikingly indigo tea or for more softly colored desserts, the flowers need to be sun-dried first and then soaked in hot water to extract the deep blue shade that no commercial colouring can compare to. Our ice cream maker has already got to serious use since we moved to Singapore, but now I might need to plant some pea flowers on our balcony too to be able to make that delicious ice cream myself.
Photo by Tanya may, Wikipedia Commons.