Pandan jelly iced tea is like the Thai, herbal version of bubble tea! The beautiful floral aroma of pandan leaves, brightened with a touch of lemongrass, and the fun texture of pandan jelly cubes are reasons why this drink has become popular in Thailand in the past few years. I had it for the first time during my last trip to Thailand and fell in love with it instantly!
If you're looking for a drink to go with a Thai meal, also try the classic favourite: Thai iced tea.
Where to buy pandan leaves?
You can find pandan leaves at Asian grocery stores either fresh or frozen, both work just fine. If using fresh, be sure to give the leaves a quick rinse before using, especially at the root end because sometimes there's dirt in the crease.
Can you use gelatin instead of agar agar?
Agar agar powder is what's used to make the jelly, and is the traditional option that is also vegan. However, you can use gelatin instead, just make sure you make the jelly quite firm (definitely firmer than texture of Jell-O) so you can cut them easily, and make sure the tea is cold before adding jelly to the tea otherwise gelatin will melt.
You will need to experiment with amounts of gelatin as I have not personally tried it, but you can use another gelatin-based jelly recipe as a guide, and you might increase the gelatin amount by about 50% to make it firmer.
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Lemongrass Pandan Tea
- 5-6 pandan leaves (see note 1)
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 1.5 L water
- Sugar or simple syrup to taste (see note 2)
- 6 pandan leaves
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ tsp agar agar powder (see note 3)
- 3-4 tablespoon sugar
To make the tea:
- Add water to a pot and set over high heat.
- Tie pandan leaves into knots, add to pot. Smash lemongrass to bruise, then cut into 1-inch pieces and add to the pot.
- Bring to a boil then let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The water should be light green and is aromatic.
- Add sugar to taste or leave it unsweetened and add syrup when serving. Strain into a pitcher and once it is at room temp, chill.
To make the jelly:
- Blend pandan leaves with the water until fine; strain into a small pot through a muslin or some type of fine-weave cloth strainer.
- Add agar agar powder to the pandan juice and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Turn off the heat and check that there are no more grains of agar agar left, then stir in sugar.
- Pour into a large flat mold of some sort, like a cake pan, and let cool until set (it will set at room temp.) Remember to pour the jelly only as deep as you want the final jelly cubes to be so there will be less chopping to do later.
- Unmold the jelly and cut into small cubes, making sure the cubes are small enough to be sucked up by whatever size straws you are using. Add jelly cubes to the pandan tea (the tea doesn’t have to be cold when you add the jelly).
- Chill completely in the fridge.
- Serve over ice and with simple syrup if you haven't sweetened the tea. Enjoy!
- You can buy pandan leaves fresh or frozen at Asian grocery stores. Be sure to give it a wash before using as sometimes there is dirt that collects in the fold close to the root end.
- To make simple syrup, use equal parts water and sugar then cook over heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- If using gelatin instead of agar agar, make the jelly extra firm then make sure you wait until the tea is cold before you add the jelly to the tea because gelatin melts at very low temperature. I haven't tried it with gelatin myself so I don't know how much gelatine you will need, but I would try doubling the gelatin amount that you would use for gelatin dessert.
Keywords: pandan tea, herbal tea, lemongrass tea, iced tea, jelly tea, bubble tea, agar agar