Blue pea, Butterfly pea, Asian pigeon wings are all the common names of this beautiful wild flower scientifically known as Clitoria ternatea (credit: Wikipedia). Shankapushpa as we call in Kannada, Aparajita (hindi), Karnika (Sanskrit) is an Ayurvedic herb grown majorly as garden show plant for its beautiful flowers in various colors (dark blue, which, sky blue, purple…) and variety such as multi petal & single petal. It is known as brain tonic as it has memory enhancing, antidepressant, and tranquilizing properties*.
These flowers are offered to god in India. In many Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, this flower is being used highly in cooking as natural food coloring to get that blue/ purple color in rice and various drinks. In eastern Malaysia, this exotic blue rice called as Nasi Kerabu is prepared by adding few flowers of blue butterfly pea plant while cooking rice and served with side dishes (Chicken, fish & salads). As it does not have a specific taste except mild earthy scent, it can be paired with any side dish. Check here for Blue tea recipe which I have posted earlier. Now let us see how to make lemon grass flavored blue rice.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Rice – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups, as required to cook your regular rice
Fresh blue butterfly pea flowers – 10 – 12, I haven’t tried with dried ones
Lemon grass stem – 3 inches (optional)
- Wash rice and drain water completely. Take it in the pressure cooker.
- Clean lemon grass stem that is the thick white part at the base removing leaves. Wash and cut into 1 inch long pieces. Add to the cooker having rice.
- Wash blue shankapushpa flowers and add to the cooker.
- Add water as required. Cook rice for 3 whistles.
- When pressure is released your blue rice is ready to be served. You can keep the cooked flowers & lemon grass shoot pieces aside while eating!
- *Important: Please consult an Ayurvedic practitional before consuming this flower as medicine or giving regularly to small children!
- Optionally, you can add salt to taste while making this rice.
- Lemon grass is optional here, which is just for the flavour as butterfly pea flower has not any specific taste!