I’m always comforted by the fragrance of pandan. It immediately evokes travels around Southeast Asia, where the plant is a common ingredient in different dishes. I love it in those tall glasses of refreshing welcome drinks after long muggy trips around the tropics. (Someone is suffering from major travel nostalgia.)
This pandan soda recipe is a variation on the usual fermented ginger beer with its distinct pandan flavor. I’m very pleased with how this turned out, with the pandan being able to hold its own against the usually assertive ginger flavor.
If you’re a fan of fizzy probiotic drinks like flavored kombucha and water kefir, I suggest you give this aromatic version a try. You can make a big batch and just double or triple the recipe.
- 10 to 12 pandan leaves
- 2 liters water
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup pandan-ginger bug, strained (recipe here)
- Juice of 1 small lemon (optional)
- Cut the pandan leaves into 2-inch pieces.
- Add pandan leaves and water to a pot and let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Remember that soda will take on the color of the sugar you will use.
- Let the sweet pandan water cool to room temperature. Remove the pandan leaves.
- Transfer the pandan water to a clean and dry resealable jar or flip-top bottle.* Make sure it is at room temperature when you add the strained pandan-ginger bug. Add lemon juice if using.
- Seal the bottle/jar and let it sit on the counter until bubbly. This can take anywhere between 3 to 5 days, depending on how warm it is.
- Burp the soda once a day by twisting open the lid to release the gas build up.
- Once bubbly, the pandan soda is now ready to drink. Drink with ice, which I prefer to keep the carbonation, or transfer to the refrigerator, where the carbonation often calms down.
* Note: If you don’t have a flip-top bottle, make sure to use a quality jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid or cap. The secondary fermentation (the first fermentation is when you made the bug) is when there will be gas buildup to get great carbonation, so the container needs to be able to withstand pressure. Explosions are rare but better to err on the side of caution. Some people prefer to use plastic bottles but given this is fermentation, the lactic acid produced will interact with the plastic and cause leaching of chemicals into the soda, which I don’t like.