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Nam Dok Anchan Recipe (Butterfly Pea Drink)

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Nam Dok Anchan, a captivating Thai herbal drink, is renowned for its striking visual appeal and delightful taste. This vibrant beverage, derived from the butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea), is a captivating shade of blue that transforms into a stunning shade of purple when paired with citrus. In this “Nam Dok Anchan Recipe,” we’ll guide you through the steps to create this visually enchanting and refreshing Thai beverage in the comfort of your own kitchen. With its unique color-changing properties and refreshing flavor, Nam Dok Anchan is the perfect choice for warm days or special gatherings. Let’s embark on this culinary journey to create a drink that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also leaves a lasting impression with its mesmerizing hues.

The Origin of Nam Dok Anchan Recipe

This captivating beverage, known for its vibrant blue hue, is steeped in rich history. It’s not just a drink; it’s a testament to Thailand’s captivating cultural tapestry.

Nam Dok Anchan has been a part of Thai tradition for centuries. It’s derived from the butterfly pea flower, a plant indigenous to Southeast Asia. You’d find this plant thriving in the tropical regions, its luminous blue flowers a sight to behold. These flowers don’t just add color to the landscape; they’re the heart of the Nam Dok Anchan recipe.

It’s believed that this drink was initially used for its medicinal properties. The locals revered it for its potential to combat stress and anxiety. Over time, it transitioned from being a medicinal drink to a popular refreshment. It’s served in a variety of occasions, from traditional ceremonies to modern-day parties.

Cultural Significance in Thailand

Nam Dok Anchan is

deeply rooted in Thai culture, symbolizing a blend of tradition, health, and hospitality. This blue-hued beverage is often served at traditional Thai ceremonies, such as weddings and religious events, symbolizing good luck and love.

Beyond ceremonial use, the butterfly pea flower, which gives the drink its unique color, is valued for its medicinal properties. It’s believed to promote eye health, fight aging, and enhance memory. As such, the drink isn’t just a feast for the eyes but also a boon for the body.

Moreover, the act of serving Nam Dok Anchan to guests is a mark of Thai hospitality. It’s a way for hosts to share a piece of their culture, while offering a refreshing drink with health benefits. From a cultural standpoint, it’s more than just a beverage – it’s a testament to Thailand’s rich traditions and a testament to the country’s emphasis on health and wellness.

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Butterfly Pea Flower: The Key Ingredient

In crafting the Nam Dok Anchan, it’s the butterfly pea flower that’s your most vital ingredient. This vibrant blue flower, native to Southeast Asia, is traditionally used in Thai cuisine, not just for its stunning color but also for its medicinal properties. Its unique ability to change color when mixed with different pH levels adds a magical touch to your drink, shifting from blue to purple with a squeeze of lime.

You might be wondering, where can I find this exotic flower? Well, it’s more accessible than you think. Many online retailers sell dried butterfly pea flowers, and you might even stumble upon them in your local health food store. They’re typically sold in bulk quantities, so you’ll have plenty to experiment with.

And let’s not forget about the health benefits. Butterfly pea flowers are known for their high antioxidant content, which can help boost your immune system and combat aging. They’re also believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. So not only does the butterfly pea flower lend its enchanting color to your Nam Dok Anchan, but it also imparts a range of health benefits that you’ll surely appreciate.

Exploring the Color Changing Magic

When you first brew your butterfly pea flower tea for Nam Dok Anchan, you’re treated to an enchanting display of color-changing magic. The deep blue hue of the flower infuses into the water, creating a vibrant, azure colored tea. But that’s just the beginning.

This magical transformation isn’t some trick of the light or optical illusion; it’s all down to natural science. Butterfly pea flower tea is rich in anthocyanins, a type of pigment that reacts to changes in pH levels. When you add a squeeze of lemon or a dash of lime to your tea, the acidity triggers a reaction, and the blue shifts to a stunning shade of purple right before your eyes.

Even the intensity of the color change can be controlled. Fewer citrus juices will result in a more subtle violet hue, while more acidity will create a deeper, richer purple. It’s a visual treat that adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your drink.

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Potential Health Benefits

Beyond the captivating color transformations, you’ll find that butterfly pea flower tea offers a wealth of potential health benefits. Packed with antioxidants, it’s known to help combat oxidative stress and inflammation. You’re not just sipping on a vibrant drink; you’re also protecting your body against damage from harmful free radicals.

But that’s not all. Butterfly pea flower tea is believed to boost brain health too. It’s high in anthocyanins, compounds associated with improved memory and brain function. So, you’re not only enjoying a flavorful drink, but also giving your brain a beneficial boost.

Furthermore, it has been linked to eye health. Rich in proanthocyanidin, butterfly pea flower tea promotes increased blood flow to the capillaries of the eyes, which could potentially help improve your vision.

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How to make Nam Dok Anchan (Butterfly Pea Drink) at home

Nam Dok Anchan, also known as Butterfly Pea Drink, is a refreshing Thai herbal drink made from butterfly pea flowers (Clitoria ternatea). It's not only delicious but also visually stunning due to its vibrant blue color, which can change to purple when you add acid (like lemon juice). Here's a detailed recipe for making Nam Dok Anchan:
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 4
Calories 56 kcal


  • Teapot or Heatproof Container: For steeping the dried butterfly pea flowers and hot water to make the infusion. A teapot or a heatproof glass container with a lid works well.
  • Strainer To strain the butterfly pea flower infusion and remove the flower petals before serving.
  • Small Saucepan: For making the sweetening syrup by dissolving sugar in water. It's also used to prepare the syrup.
  • Stirring Utensil: A spoon or a stirring stick to mix the sweetening syrup with the butterfly pea flower infusion and to adjust sweetness to taste.
  • Glasses: Clear glasses or glassware to serve the drink and showcase the vibrant blue and color-changing effect.
  • Ice Cube Tray To make ice cubes if you want to serve the drink over ice for a chilled beverage.
  • Citrus Juicer or Reamer: If you plan to add lemon or lime juice to the drink, a citrus juicer or reamer will help you extract the juice easily.
  • Knife To cut lemon or lime wedges for garnish and for squeezing juice into the drink.
  • Garnish Items: If you choose to garnish your Nam Dok Anchan, you might need items like mint leaves, lemon balm leaves, or edible flowers for decoration (Optional).


For the Butterfly Pea Flower Infusion:

  • 1/2 cup ┬ádried butterfly pea flowers (you can also use fresh if available)
  • 4 cups hot water

For the Sweetening Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup water

For Serving:

  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon or lime wedges (for color-changing effect)
  • Mint leaves or lemon balm leaves (optional, for garnish)


Prepare the Butterfly Pea Flower Infusion:

  • Place the dried butterfly pea flowers in a heatproof container or teapot.
  • Pour the hot water over the flowers, ensuring they are completely submerged.
  • Let the flowers steep for about 10-15 minutes, or until the water turns a deep blue color.
  • Strain the infusion, discarding the flowers, and allow it to cool to room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by placing it in the refrigerator.

Make the Sweetening Syrup:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Remove the syrup from heat and let it cool. You can also store any leftover syrup in the refrigerator for future use.

Assemble the Nam Dok Anchan:

  • Fill a glass with ice cubes to your liking.
  • Pour the cooled butterfly pea flower infusion over the ice, leaving some room at the top of the glass.
  • Add the sweetening syrup to the glass, adjusting the amount to your preferred level of sweetness. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • Squeeze a lemon or lime wedge into the glass and watch the magic happen as the blue drink turns purple due to the acid. You can adjust the acidity to your liking.
  • Garnish with a mint leaf or lemon balm leaf for an extra touch of freshness.

Serve and Enjoy:

  • Stir the drink one more time before sipping to ensure the flavors are well-mixed.
  • Enjoy your homemade Nam Dok Anchan as a refreshing and visually appealing beverage!


  • Butterfly Pea Flowers: You can find dried butterfly pea flowers at many Asian grocery stores, online retailers, or even grow your own if you have access to the fresh flowers. Dried flowers are more commonly used for making the infusion, but fresh flowers can also be used if available.
  • Water Temperature: When steeping the butterfly pea flowers, make sure to use hot water that’s just below boiling. This helps extract the vibrant blue color and flavor from the flowers.
  • Sweetening Syrup: Adjust the amount of sugar in the syrup to suit your taste. Some prefer a sweeter drink, while others prefer it less sweet. You can also substitute the sugar with honey or a sweetener of your choice.
  • Acidity: The addition of lemon or lime juice not only adds a tart flavor but also changes the color of the drink from blue to purple. You can control the level of acidity to achieve your desired shade of purple. Some people prefer a subtle color change, while others like it more pronounced.
  • Presentation: To make your Nam Dok Anchan visually appealing, consider using clear glasses to showcase the color-changing effect. You can also get creative with garnishes, such as lemon wheels, edible flowers, or a slice of cucumber.
  • Variations: You can get creative with this drink by adding other flavors. Some people like to add a splash of coconut milk or coconut cream to create a creamy and tropical version known as “Butterfly Pea Latte.” You can also experiment with different herbs and spices, such as lemongrass or ginger, for added complexity.
  • Storage: The butterfly pea flower infusion can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two if you have leftovers. However, the color may fade over time.
  • Health Benefits: Butterfly pea flowers are believed to have some health benefits and are rich in antioxidants. They are also caffeine-free and can be enjoyed as a caffeine-free alternative to traditional tea.
Keyword drinks, healthy, herbs

The Art of Serving Nam Dok Anchan

The visual impact is half the experience, so focus on presentation. Serve it in a clear glass to showcase the vibrant blue color. A sprig of mint or a slice of lemon on the rim adds a classy touch.

Next, consider the temperature. It’s typically enjoyed cold, so ensure it’s adequately chilled before you serve. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with a hot version during cooler months, for a comforting, therapeutic treat.

It’s also about timing. Serve it as a refreshing welcome drink or an after-dinner cleanser. It’s ideal for festive occasions, where its unique color can be a conversation starter.

Lastly, remember the change in color is part of the charm. Serve with a side of citrus, allowing your guest to experience the magical transformation from blue to purple.

In essence, the art of serving Nam Dok Anchan is about enhancing the sensory experience. It’s not just a drink, it’s a performance. So take your time, be creative, and most importantly, enjoy the process.

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Variations Around the World

In Malaysia, it’s known as Bunga Telang Tea, frequently mixed with lime or lemon juice to enhance its color-changing magic.

Over in the Philippines, they’ve taken it a step further, using the blue flower in a dessert called Puto Maya, where the rice cake takes on a beautiful royal blue hue.

Moving on to Vietnam, they’re fond of using butterfly pea flowers in their traditional cocktails, resulting in breathtakingly vibrant drinks.

In the west, the US and Canada have embraced this unique ingredient in trendy cafes, where butterfly pea lattes are all the rage. These lattes combine the flower’s extract with milk and sweeteners, creating a visually stunning and tasty treat.

The versatility of Nam Dok Anchan is truly impressive. Its journey around the world is a testament to its adaptability, and each country’s unique take on the drink only enhances its charm.

Pairing Suggestions for Nam Dok Anchan

When enjoying your Nam Dok Anchan, you might wonder what foods pair best with this vibrant drink. It’s a valid question, as the right food can enhance the drink’s unique flavor.

Nam Dok Anchan is generally sweet, making it an ideal match for spicy dishes. The sweetness helps cut through the heat, creating a balanced taste. Thai cuisine is an obvious choice, considering the drink’s origin. A spicy red curry or a fiery tom yum soup or tongue-burner Pad Kraprao can work wonders.

However, don’t limit yourself to Thai food. Mexican cuisine, known for its bold and spicy flavors, can also pair well with Nam Dok Anchan. Try it with some spicy tacos or a hearty chili.

If you’re not into spicy food, no worries. The drink’s sweetness also complements savory dishes. A plate of roasted chicken or grilled fish would be delightful.

And finally, for dessert lovers, Nam Dok Anchan pairs beautifully with creamy desserts. Think coconut ice cream or cheesecake. The drink’s floral notes add an extra layer of complexity to these sweet treats.

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Customizing Your Butterfly Pea Drink

You’ve got countless ways to customize your Nam Dok Anchan, making it truly your own unique drink. Steep it hot or cold, depending on your preference.

The butterfly pea flowers impart a natural, stunning blue hue that’s visually appealing, and their flavor is subtle, giving you a blank canvas to work with.

Sweeten your drink with honey or agave nectar. Want to add a citrusy twist? Squeeze in some lemon or lime juice, and watch the color magically change from blue to purple due to the drink’s natural pH sensitivity. You can also add ginger, mint, or lemongrass for a refreshing twist.

Consider mixing in other teas for a blend of flavors. Green tea or chamomile tea pairs well with butterfly pea. If you’re aiming for a tangy, fruity flavor, hibiscus or rosehip tea is a great addition.

Don’t stop at teas. Butterfly pea flower is versatile and pairs well with a variety of beverages. Try it in cocktails, smoothies, or even lattes. Experiment with different combinations to find your perfect match.

Myths and Facts About Butterfly Pea Drink

Now, let’s debunk a few myths and share some fascinating facts about the butterfly pea drink, to further enhance your knowledge about this magical beverage.

Firstly, you may have heard that butterfly pea drink can turn your eyes blue. This is a myth. While it’s true that the vibrant blue color of the drink comes from the butterfly pea flower, it doesn’t have any effect on your eye color.

Now, for some truths. Butterfly pea drink is packed with antioxidants which makes it great for your skin. It can help improve your complexion and fight off signs of aging. It’s also been touted for its potential to improve brain function. Some studies suggest it may enhance memory and learning abilities.

Contrarily, it’s a common misconception that butterfly pea drink can cure serious ailments like cancer or heart disease. While it’s a healthy drink, it’s not a miracle cure. It can however, contribute to overall health and well-being when included in a balanced diet.

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Future Trends: Butterfly Pea in Mixology

Dive into the future of mixology where butterfly pea drink is making waves with its vibrant color and unique flavor profile. As you explore this burgeoning trend, you’ll notice that mixologists worldwide are incorporating this intriguing drink into their cocktails. Its distinct blue color provides a visual spectacle that’s hard to ignore.

Now, you might wonder, what makes it so appealing? It’s the butterfly pea flower’s color-changing ability. When mixed with acidic ingredients like lemon or lime juice, the blue hue shifts to a captivating purple. This magical transformation isn’t only a feast for the eyes but also adds an extra layer of interest to the drinking experience.

But it’s not just about aesthetics. Butterfly pea drink also comes with a mild, earthy flavor that plays well with a variety of spirits and mixers. It opens up a world of creative possibilities for cocktail enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Shelf-Life of the Butterfly Pea Flowers Once They Are Harvested?

You’re curious about the shelf-life of harvested butterfly pea flowers. Once you’ve gathered these vibrant blooms, they’ll stay fresh for about a week.

If you dry them properly, though, they can last up to a year! That’s quite handy if you’re planning to use them for their distinctive color and flavor.

Just make sure to store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight to preserve their quality.

Can I Grow My Own Butterfly Pea Flowers for the Nam Dok Anchan Recipe?

Absolutely, you can grow your own butterfly pea flowers. They’re quite easy to cultivate, even for beginners. You’ll need a sunny spot and a trellis or some form of support, as they’re climbing vines.

Don’t forget, these flowers love warmth, so they’ll thrive in summer months. Once they’ve bloomed, you can pick the flowers and dry them for your special Nam Dok Anchan.

Isn’t it exciting to make your own ingredients from scratch?

Are There Any Known Allergy Concerns Associated With the Butterfly Pea Flower?

You’re asking about potential allergy concerns with the butterfly pea flower. While it’s generally safe for most people, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to any plant.

If you’ve never consumed butterfly pea flowers before, it’s wise to try a small amount first. If you notice any adverse reactions such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing, stop use immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

What Is the Best Type of Sweetener to Use in Nam Dok Anchan?

When sweetening your Nam Dok Anchan, it’s really up to your personal preference. If you’re looking for a more traditional taste, palm sugar is often used in Thai cuisine. However, you can easily substitute with honey or even stevia if you’re watching your sugar intake.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sweeteners to find the flavor profile that suits your palate best.

Can the Butterfly Pea Flower Be Used in Other Recipes Besides Nam Dok Anchan?

Absolutely, you can use the butterfly pea flower in a variety of other recipes. It’s not just limited to Nam Dok Anchan. You’ll find it’s a common ingredient in teas, desserts, and even some savory dishes.

It’s known for its vibrant blue hue, which can make any dish or drink visually stunning. So feel free to experiment and see how this versatile flower can bring a pop of color to your culinary creations.

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My name is Mint. I am a Thai girl who loves to cook and share my Thai food with everyone! Learn more about me here.

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