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Thai Pandan Drink Recipe (Nam Bai Toey)

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This Thai pandan drink recipe is simple to make and refreshing in the summer. It’s called nam bai toey in Thailand and is both healthy and tasty. I also added some chewy jellies, great for serving to kids at parties!

Hand holding a mug of Thai pandan drink with jelly cubes.

In Thailand, the sweet aroma of pandan is popular in desserts like pandan coconut jelly and khanom chan. Making a delicious pandan drink is easy, too, with just a few simple ingredients and fresh pandan leaves.

What is pandan drink

Pandan drink is a refreshing and fragrant beverage made with pandan leaves, beloved across Southeast Asia for its aroma and comforting taste. It has many health benefits and is sometimes sweetened for better tase.

Pandan leaves

Pandan leaves are long, bright green leaves that are easy to recognize. Some say they smell like vanilla and coconut, but really, they just smell like pandan. In Asia, they’re popular in cooking and traditional herbal medicine.

You can buy pandan leaves at Asian grocery stores, Asian markets, specialty food shops, or some online stores that sell Asian foods.

Fresh pandan leaves growing in a garden.
Fresh pandan leaves in my grandmother’s garden.

If you’re in a warm, tropical place, you can try growing them yourself – they’re easy to take care of!

Pandan jelly drink

This pandan jelly drink is really easy to make. We start by making a simple sugar syrup, and you can experiment with different sweeteners like white or brown sugar.

Then, we’ll prepare the pandan juice, which is easily done by blending pandan leaves with water and then straining the mixture to obtain the fragrant green liquid. This juice infuses our drink with that lovely pandan aroma and taste.

Next, we combine this juice with the sugar syrup to create a mixture that’s not just rich in pandan flavor but also sweet and tasty.

Refreshing Thai pandan drink served in a long glass.

I love to serve it topped with pandan jelly for a chewy texture – similar to the chewy tapioca pearls in bubble tea. This makes the drink a lot more enjoyable and unique.

You can serve this pandan drink at any gathering or event. It’s also a great drink to enjoy throughout the day when you’re relaxing at home!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for pandan drink labeled: pandan, water, white sugar, and agar-agar powder.

Pandan drink

  • Pandan leaves – Pandan leaves give the green drink its unique, sweet aroma and flavor that’s key to the recipe.
  • White sugar – Feel free to experiment with the amount of sugar, making it more or less sweet to your taste.
  • Water – The base of the drink.

Jelly cubes (optional)

  • Agar-agar powder – Agar-agar powder is a vegan alternative for gelatin and is used to make the jellies firm and bouncy.
  • Water – Water combines with agar-agar powder to create the jellies.

The jelly cubes are flavorless, I added them only for a chewy texture. If you want, you can sweeten them by adding white sugar and give them color with food coloring or pandan essence.

How to make pandan jelly drink

Pandan drink

Sugar syrup prepared in a pot.

Step 1: Make sugar syrup by cooking white sugar with 23.6 fl oz of water (pandan drink ingredients) on medium heat. Remove from heat once the sugar dissolves.

Pandan juice in a blender before and after mixing.

Step 2: Blend the chopped pandan leaves with the remaining water.

Pouring pandan juice through a filter cloth.

Step 3: Filter the pandan juice into the sugar syrup and stir. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge. For jelly cubes, follow the next steps.

Jelly cubes (optional)

Agar-agar powder in a bowl with water.

Step 1: Soak the agar-agar powder in 17 fl oz of water for 15 minutes.

Agar mixture in a mold.

Step 2: Cook the mixture on low-medium heat until the agar-agar dissolves completely, stirring continuously. To check if it’s ready, look at the back of a spoon after you dip it in. If you still see little bits on it, cook a bit more until it’s all smooth.

Jelly mixture in a mold.

Step 3: Pour into a baking mold and let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Slicing jelly with a knife.

Step 4: Unmold the jelly onto a cutting board, cut into small squares, and use as a topping for the drink. Enjoy!

Kitchenware

  • Saucepan for making sugar syrup and jelly
  • Blender for making pandan extract
  • Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Jelly mold

Serving suggestions

You can serve this drink chilled with ice for a cool, sweet drink on a hot day. Or, if you prefer to skip the ice, simply chill it in the fridge beforehand. And for the chillier winter days, you can serve it warm.

Don’t forget to top it with a scoop of pandan jellies and optionally garnish with a pandan leaf.

Keep it fresh

Storing pandan jelly drink: Store the pandan drink in airtight containers or bottles in the refrigerator. This will keep it fresh for up to 3 days.

Storing pandan jellies: Place the pandan jellies in an airtight container and refrigerate. They will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Pandan drink benefits

Webmd says pandan leaves are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, supporting eye health and potentially preventing cancer. They’re used for arthritis relief, heart health, skin care, and blood sugar control, highlighting their role in enhancing overall health and wellness.

Frequently asked questions

What is pandan?

Pandan is a tropical plant known for its aromatic leaves, used widely in Southeast Asian cooking and desserts for its unique, sweet flavor.

Can I freeze pandan leaves?

Yes, you can freeze pandan leaves in a ziplock bag to preserve their aroma and use them directly from the freezer in recipes.

Can I use pandan essence?

I advise using fresh pandan leaves. I haven’t tested this recipe with pandan essence or extract, but it should work. Start with small amounts as it’s concentrated.

Authentic Thai drink recipes

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Thai Pandan Drink Recipe (Nam Bai Toey)

Hand holding a mug of Thai pandan drink with jelly cubes.
Nam bai toey is an easy Thai pandan drink recipe with pandan jelly cubes, perfect for the family!
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Drinks
Serving Size 5 people

Ingredients

PANDAN DRINK

  • 3.5 ounces pandan leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 34 fluid ounces water

JELLY CUBES (OPTIONAL)

  • 17 fluid ounces water
  • 2 teaspoons agar agar powder

Instructions

PANDAN DRINK

  • Make sugar syrup by cooking white sugar with 23.6 fl oz of water (pandan drink ingredients) on medium heat. Remove from heat once the sugar dissolves.
  • Blend the chopped pandan leaves with the remaining water.
  • Filter the pandan juice into the sugar syrup and stir. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge. For jelly cubes, follow the next steps.

JELLY CUBES (OPTIONAL)

  • Soak the agar-agar powder in 17 fl oz of water for 15 minutes.
  • Cook the mixture on low-medium heat until the agar-agar dissolves completely, stirring continuously. To check if it’s ready, look at the back of a spoon after you dip it in. If you still see little bits on it, cook a bit more until it’s all smooth.
  • Pour into a baking mold and let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Unmold the jelly onto a cutting board, cut into small squares, and use as a topping for the drink. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Pandan leaves - You can buy pandan leaves at Asian grocery stores, Asian markets, specialty food shops, or online stores that sell Asian foods.
  • Jelly cubes - The jelly cubes are just for adding a chewy texture. You can keep them plain like I did or sweeten them up with white sugar. For color, you can add a drop of food coloring or pandan essence.
  • Sugar - Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to taste.

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