Aparajita flower adds the colour blue naturally to food and beverages
The Aparajita flower has a paramount place in Indian mythology and Ayurveda. This perennial creeper is considered sacred and has great relevance related to Lord Vishnu. The name Aparajita translates into someone undefeatable. No wonder our Ayurveda reveres it as the invincible cure against several diseases. Apart from religious use and Ayurvedic application, this flower also secures its place as an exotic ingredient in the culinary space. And, the usage isn't restricted to the Indian kitchen. From soothing tea to sticky rice or addictive desserts, this flower has been widely infused in food and drinks of different kinds. The English name of Aparajita is Butterfly pea, Asian pigeon wings, Darwin pea and Cordofan pea.
The local names in India are Shanku Pushpa in Kannada (because of its conch-shell-like shape), Gokarni and Khagtu in Hindi. It belongs to the Shirovirechanopaga group of herbs in Ayurveda and is classified under the Medhya category. This group of herbs is linked to detoxifying and cleansing the brain and related nerve systems. Apart from this, Aparajita stands out as a remedy for memory loss.
Food and colours have a unique equation. We tend to get tempted by edibles and potables that appeal to the eyes. Contrary to the chemicals-laden food colours, the butterfly pea flower adds a natural blue or indigo hue. Besides adding to the visual attraction, the food or drink gets infused with its numerous health benefits. It is absolutely safe to consume.
While the most common variant of Aparajita is blue, you may also find white-coloured ones. It contains numerous vitamins and antioxidants that provide various health benefits to our bodies. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and manganese are present in substantial quantity these flowers.
You can use the flower both for food and beverages. Here is a list of dishes made using Aparajita.
Nam Dok Anchan
It is a popular drink in Vietnam and Thailand using butterfly pea flower tea. To make this, the flower is mixed with sugar and lemon juice. The concoction has a vivid purple hue and can be consumed both as a hot or cold drink. At times to aromatise further, an extra dose of fresh mint leaves, grated ginger and cinnamon powder go into it.
As a Calming Tea
Butterfly pea flower herbal tea
You must include butterfly pea flower tea in your list of herbal teas. This potent flower has its distinctive character and can turn into a mellow floral tea. One can use the entire flowerheads, or alternately a blend of this flower with other ingredients like lavender, purple leaf tea, hibiscus, and lemon can make for a perfect evening cup of brew. It is 100 % caffeine-free.
Nasi Kerabu: Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
The power of the butterfly pea flower is seen in several rice-based dishes. Nasi Kerabu, a variation of Nasi Ulam from Malaysia, is a testament to it. To make this rice delicacy, the petals of fresh Clitoria ternatea are used, and the blue-hued dish gets the colour naturally. This exotic culinary fare is served with dried fish or fried chicken, crackers, pickles, and other salads.
Blue cheesecake: Image Courtesy: Audrey @unconventionalbaker.com
These days many bakers across the world are using this natural colouring agent for making a variety of baked desserts. From cupcakes, muffins, and puddings to cheesecakes, the benefits of butterfly pea flower are suffused into sweetmeats.
Now you have a plethora of options to choose from. Do share how you will use Aparajita or butterfly pea flower in your food and beverages.