Fresh leaves have the strongest flavor. If you want to use frozen or dried pandan leaves, you should double or triple the amount called for in the recipe because freezing and drying weaken the flavor. Before you use frozen pandan, let the leaves thaw at room temperature, rinse them under cold water, and pat dry. Before using dried pandan leaves, you need to add water or grind them into a powder.
To make pandan paste, pound fresh pandan leaves into a paste, taking out the tough parts and only adding a small amount of water. Pandan extract can be made by grinding the leaves with water and then straining the mixture. The liquid that is left behind is the extract. You only need a small amount when adding paste or extract to a recipe.
What is Pandan?
In Southeast Asia, pandan leaves give sweet and savory dishes a unique taste and smell. They are also used to flavor drinks and desserts. Pandan leaves can be bought fresh, frozen, or dried. You can also wrap chicken or sticky rice in them. The leaves add an aromatic note to these foods, making them look more appealing. The paste, extract, and powder adds flavor and green color to the other ingredients. Pandan is cheap and costs a lot less than vanilla bean.
Pandan is a tropical herb that grows in Southeast Asia in large amounts. It is called a “fragrant plant” because it has a unique, sweet smell. The cultivated plant, which looks like a palm, has bright green leaves that stand straight and are long, thin, and spikey. Many Thai and Southeast Asian dishes use the leaves for their taste. Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) is also sold as a paste, extract, and powder used to flavor desserts.
In South-East Asia, pandan leaves add a unique taste and smell to sweets, drinks, and delicious foods. Foods like chicken or sticky brown rice can be wrapped in fresh, frozen, or dried pandan leaves. Leaves add a scent to these foods, often making them look more appealing. The extract and powder are used to give the ingredients a green color, and the extract gives them flavor. Pandan is very cheap, even cheaper than vanilla beans.
How to Make Fresh Pandan Extract?
Pandan Leaves in Southeast Asian Cooking
Pandanus amaryllifolius is one of the wide varieties of pandan (screwpine) (screwpine). Known in the culinary world as pandan leaves, they have a characteristically fresh fragrance that is highly prized in Southeast Asian cooking.
Pandan leaves are used in a variety of ways in Southeast Asian cooking. A leaf is tied into a knot and added to rice and stews during cooking. Pandan leaves are chopped and pressed to squeeze out the color and flavor to make drinks, bread, cakes, and a host of sweet delicacies. Diced marinated chicken is wrapped in pandan leaves and then fried to make the popular Thai chicken pandan dish which can be fried or baked.
If you have access to fresh pandan leaves and want to make the most of them, here is a step-by-step guide on making fresh pandan extract.
Prepare the Pandan Leaves
Rinse the pandan leaves and trim the ends of the roots.
Make the leaves smaller by cutting them up. What you use to grind them will determine how small they get. Cut the leaves as small as possible using a mortar and pestle. Cutting the vegetables into 2-inch pieces should be enough if you use a blender or food processor.
Finely Grind the Pandan Leaves
In this tutorial, a food processor was used to make pandan extract.
- Add just enough water to cover the leaves to the food processor. Process the leaves until they break into tiny pieces and the water turns green.
- If you are using a blender, follow the same steps.
- If you are using a mortar and pestle, use your wrist to grind the leaves until they are fine. Add a little water, keep grinding, then add more water and stir.
Strain the Pandan Water
Strain the water with pandan. A regular filter is usually enough, but if your food processor turns the pandan leaves into tiny pieces, you might need to use two layers of cheesecloth.
Squeeze Out the Juices
Squeeze the ground leaves to get as much flavor and color as possible. If you use a filter, press the leaves down with the back of a spoon. If you want to use cheesecloth, squeeze it as hard as possible.
The pandan water is now ready to be used. It was suggested that you use it immediately when the smell is strongest. In a tightly sealed jar, you can keep pandan water in the fridge for a day or two, but it won’t be as good as when you first squeezed it.
What does it Taste Like?
Pandan leaves naturally have a sweet taste and a light smell. It has a strong taste and has been described as grassy with hints of rose, almond, vanilla, and coconut. Pandan has the same smell as basmati rice, so some cooks who want to save money will use pandan to flavor plain rice. People often grind up pandan leaves to make an emerald-green extract. The leaf’s color and flavor get darker and stronger as it ages. Also, pandan leaf powder is used to add flavor to both sweet and savory foods. According to some people, it tastes like grassy vanilla with a hint of coconut.
“Tropical” is the best word to describe the taste of the Pandan. The pandan leaves smell and taste sweet because that is how they were made. It has a strong flavor, with hints of rose, almond, and vanilla near the grassy coconut. Adding a small amount of pandan to white rice gives it the same smell as basmati rice. It smelled great and made you hungry when you thought about all the pandan food. Be careful when you use a commercial pandan extract concentrate. The taste is bitter; if you use it too much, it can take over any food.
Pandan goes well with flavors like coconut milk, sticky rice, turmeric, and lemongrass, giving desserts a floral taste. Cocktails also taste good and interesting when pandan is added.
- Thai Pandan Rice Cake
- Pandan Sweet Rice Layer Cake
- Nasi Lemak (Rich Rice)
Where to Buy Pandan?
Pandan leaves can be bought online or in some Asian food stores. They can be bought fresh, frozen, or dried. You can package the leaves whole or cut them up. Make sure that none of the fresh leaves are brown or shriveled, and none of the frozen leaves are discolored or covered with ice crystals.
It’s important to read the list of ingredients. You can also find the paste, extract, and powder in Asian markets and online. There should only be pandan leaves and water, but many brands add other things that cover up the plant’s flavor.
Fresh pandan leaves can be kept in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer for about four days if wrapped in a damp paper towel or plastic bag. You can also freeze pandan leaves. Please put them in the freezer on a single layer on a baking sheet. Once the pandan leaves are frozen, please put them in a zipper bag and back in the freezer. They will last for about six months. You can keep dried leaves, paste, extract, and powder in the pantry. The paste and extract you make at home should be kept in the fridge for one to three weeks.
Health Benefits of Pandan
Pandan leaves have been used for centuries to help digestion and bring down a fever. Thai people have used the healing properties of pandan leaves for many years. In South-East Asia, minor burns, sunburns, and other skin problems are treated with crushed dried pandan leaves.
In common, an extract of the leaves could lower blood pressure, ease arthritis pain, and make people more hungry. Pandan can help with problems like hair loss and dandruff. In this case, the leaves condition your hair.
Reduce Arthritis Pain
Millions of people worldwide have arthritis, which can cause joint stiffness or pain. In Ayurvedic medicine, a mixture of pandan leaves and coconut oil is put on the skin to help with arthritis.
Control Blood Sugar
Pandan can help keep your blood sugar in check. In one study, 30 healthy adults were given 75 grams of hot tea made from the leaves of the Pandanus amaryllifolius plant. They were then given a blood sugar test. People who drank tea for the blood sugar test got better faster than those who drank hot water.
Improve Oral Health
The pleasant taste of pandan leaves can make your breath feel better. This method is also used in some non-Western treatments to stop the gums from bleeding. Pandan hasn’t been studied in depth, but many reports show it is good for your health. The most common uses are to control blood sugar and ease the pain.
Whether in leaves, paste, extract, or powder, pandan, also known as screw pine, can be used differently. Like banana leaves, whole pandan leaves are used to wrap food before it is steamed or fried. But pandan leaves are much narrower than banana leaves, so it’s important to know that juices may leak through. Pandan paste and extract are used to add flavor to recipes, similar to how vanilla extract is used in the West. The powder is used in baked goods and tea. All of these things give the dish a green color.