Pandan leaves are highly valued for their sweet, floral, and slightly nutty flavour, which adds a unique aroma to various dishes.
Pandan leaves are long, slender, and blade-like, typically measuring 50-60 cm long. They have a vibrant green colour and are characterized by their prominent ridges along the length of the leaf. When crushed or torn, pandan leaves release their delightful fragrance.
Pandan leaves are versatile and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. Here are some common culinary uses:
Flavouring: The primary use of pandan leaves is to infuse their aromatic flavour into various dishes. They are often tied into a knot or folded to release their essence during cooking.
Rice: In some regions, pandan leaves are added to rice before cooking to impart a fragrant aroma to the grains.
Desserts: Pandan leaves are frequently used in desserts to enhance the flavour. They can be used to flavour rice-based sweets, cakes, puddings, and custards.
Drinks: Pandan leaves are used to make refreshing and fragrant beverages. They can be added to water to create pandan-infused water or flavour smoothies, teas, and cocktails.
Curry dishes: In certain curries and savoury dishes, pandan leaves can be added to complement the flavours of spices and other ingredients.
Wrapping: In some traditional recipes, pandan leaves are used as natural wrappers for food items like chicken or fish, which are then steamed or grilled, allowing the leaves aroma to infuse into the food.
Pandan leaves are best used fresh, but they can be stored for a short time. To store them, wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.