Bluer than blue…

Some people, obviously uninitiated, were aghast when they saw my photo(s) of the Kelantanese delight, the nasi kerabu

Nasi kerabu

…because of the blue colour of the rice. No, there was absolutely no cause for alarm as no artificial colouring was used in the cooking.

Since time immemorial, the nyonyas have used the butterfly pea flower (the clitoria ternatea) to stain their peranakan favourites such as their kuihs (cakes), the serimuka or kuih salat, for instance…


…or their changs (meat dumplings)…

Nyonya chang

…and for no particular reason, personally, I do not mind it in small measure like these but not when they colour the rice completely blue. Whatever it is, it does not make much/any difference to the taste…and since it is so easy to use – just add water and you will get the bluer than blue colour for use – and so easy to grow, it does not make any sense if anyone will spend money and go and buy those artificial colouring from the shops.

Well, word has gone round regarding the health benefits of drinking the tea and all of a sudden, everyone is drinking it. Why? Even Starbucks has jumped on the bandwagon and has it in their “new color-changing drink”! And every morning, I would see my neighbour from across the road walking to another neighbour’s house a few doors away to pick the flowers from their creeping plant that is growing all over the fence…to make tea to drink.

It is very easy to plant, it seems and everybody is doing it and it will flower in abundance in no time at all. However, I did not intend to do the same but when my missus came home one day with this…

Butterfly pea flowers

…that she bought at RM3.00 for a small packet of the flowers, I decided it was time that we had our own. I went to my neighbour’s house, the one with it growing all over their fence, to ask her how to go about planting it and the kind and generous lady gave me THREE of the seedlings!

I had nothing growing along the fence at the back of the house but the cement of the drain (Don’t ask me why there is a drain all around my house compound – the previous owner did it, not me!) prevented any access to the soil except at one part so I planted one there…

By the fence

…and I planted one in one corner in the soil close to the drain and put some stilts…

With the aid of stilts

…in the hope that the creepers will creep over them over the drain and go up the fence and I had the third one by the fence that separates my backyard from that of my immediate neighbour, no drain there.

Hopefully, they will grow and start flowering soon enough so we can start drinking the tea…

Butterfly pea flower tea

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

9 thoughts on “Bluer than blue…”

  1. Yes, heard about the benefits of it. How true it is. Can see that people are crazy over this flowers. It is so easy to plant and in no time it will creep all over the fences. I have never make drink with it but use it when I cook my rice.

    I add pandan leaves to my rice for that nice fragrance. Dunno what I will do with it, probably just to cover my back fence, very bare and quite a nuisance as I have to do the weeding very often.

  2. If you didn’t blog about the tea, I won’t have know about it, all the while, I know about using it for rice…

    Guess you have not come across it yet outside – they do serve at some of those upscale cafes like Starbucks.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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