The butterfly pea flower (aka bunga telang) is also known as clitoria ternatea, so named after its resemblance to the shape of the female’s clitoris. The plant is found in Southeast Asian countries and is really an ubiquitous element in many Asian recipes, most notably for its beautiful colour.
Some essential information about the butterfly pea flower:
The reason why it turns colour magically is due to a component called anthocyanins, which is highly sensitive to pH balance changes. When you first brew your tea, the liquid will be a deep regal blue in colour. But add a squeeze of lemon and watch it change to a gorgeous shade of purple. Feel free to experiment, especially if you’re looking to entertain your little one – increasing the acidity of the drink will eventually give way to a beautiful pink, while increasing its alkalinity will give it a blue-green hue.
It has serious health benefits
According to the International Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, its extract was found to have antidepressant and calming properties – especially in combating anxiety. In addition, it exhibited anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity to keep infections at bay – not to mention, recent reports have stated that its components could very well suppress tumours and enhance one’s immunity. For those facing digestive issues, it can also act as a mild laxative.
How can you consume it?
There are butterfly pea flower pills that you can take as a supplement, but we’d much rather brew a beautiful cup of caffeine-free blue tea that yields a woody taste. Just throw in a handful (about a dozen) flowers in hot water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes – then add honey to sweeten the taste.
Where to get it?
It’s not commonly found, but you can get your hands on some butterfly pea flower tea at The Hive Bulk Foods located in Bangsar (Instagram: @thehivebulkfoods). But if you’re keen on the flower itself, see if your local market has it or check out Ben’s Independent Grocer.
Check the next page for some interesting (and eye-catching) recipes that use the butterfly pea flower among the ingredients.