Pandan Waffles with Coconut Caramel

Today is officially the start date for complete lockdown in my state county. Before all the craziness, I had actually planned on making katsu chicken and pandan waffles as a twist to its beloved inspiration; unfortunately, last time I checked the grocery store in the beginnings of the COVID madness, the meat section was COMPLETELY cleared out. People scare me more than the actual disease to be honest.

Even though we can still go to grocery stores under this lockdown, I feel a little unsettled going unless I really need something, because I don’t wanna risk bringing home the virus to my mom. Fortunately, we’re all stocked on food and water….and enough baking material for me to play around with. So, there will be no shortage of posts! I just wish I could get chicken.

Pandan waffles are a universal childhood treat for Vietnamese Americans; don’t quote me though. We usually get it around Asian New Year at supermarket festivals, and it’s honestly my favorite part of New Year (minus the red envelopes, but I don’t get them anymore…). They’re fluffy, yet chewy….subtle-y sweet with floral, coconutty notes; they. are. amazing.

With an extra can of coconut milk, you can make coconut caramel for an extra oomph of flavor! I used maple syrup in this, but you could also substitute with brown sugar or even plain.

But why am I making this now at the end of March? Honestly, I wanted to make a post for Waffle Day, which is on the 25th. As I was checking my Instagram feed this morning, I saw that no one was really posting any waffle pics..which is understandable given the change of priorities during this time period. In any case, I will probably post this late because I’m admittedly behind on editing the Youtube video that I’m planning for this.

The first time I made these was very disappointing…and my mom pointed out why; I had used a recipe that only used all-purpose flour, instead of a mix of both all-purpose and rice flour. You can still use all AP flour and you’d still make waffles, but rice flour gives them the signature light and chewy texture.

This time around, I changed the flour mix and added coconut caramel and whipped cream (but you can stick to having it traditionally plain). Honestly, the combo is amazing, and it made me very happy, during these trying times, to be eating it outside of New Year season.

As a side note, the waffles aren’t as crispy as they could’ve been because I stuck with the same cheap waffle iron I bought 4 years ago that’s flimsy, leaks, and can barely crisp up waffles on high heat. If you don’t have a shitty waffle iron, I’m ecstatic for you because your waffles will definitely turn out better than mine.

For a video on this recipe, check out my Youtube channel!


For the pandan waffles:

Makes 2 round waffles

1 egg

¾ cup coconut milk, full fat & unsweetened

1 tbsp melted butter

1/2 – 1 tsp pandan extract (Note: The more you use, the brighter the green will be; 1/2 tsp will give the standard pastel green, while I used 1 tsp)

1/4 cup rice flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar (reduce to 1/4 cup if using sweetened coconut milk)

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

Oil/spray for greasing waffle iron (I used coconut oil spray)

For the coconut caramel

Makes roughly 1/2 cup

1 can coconut milk (400 ml), full fat & unsweetened

1/3 cup maple syrup (add more or less to taste, especially if using sweetened coconut milk; you can also substitute with 1/3 cup brown or white sugar )

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 tsp instant coffee (optional)


Making the coconut caramel:

Add coconut milk and maple syrup to a small saucepan.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 35-40 minutes (uncovered), stirring very frequently with a spatula.

Scrape down the sides periodically when it starts to get darker. You can take it off the stove when it coats the back of the spoon, or cook it even further for a thicker sauce. Note that it becomes slighter thicker when it cools.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and instant coffee. Pour into a container to cool; place in the fridge if using it later.

Making the waffles:

Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork or whisk.

Shake can of coconut milk well before opening and stir well before measuring (the coconut milk is often separated, so make sure it’s well stirred).

Add coconut milk, melted butter, and pandan extract to the bowl. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.

Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until incorporated and smooth; do not over-mix.

When the waffle iron is hot, lightly oil the top and bottom waffle grids. Spoon batter into the center of each quadrant of the waffle iron; be generous. Close the lid and cook until slightly golden and crisp.

Serve with coconut caramel and whipped cream; or alone, as the traditional way.