‘Pandan’ is a plant that grows natively in Southeast Asia. For hundreds of years, many cultures have used this spice as a culinary flavoring.
Besides being green in color, these leaves can be used to make desserts as well as savory dishes. In this article, we will explore what does pandan taste like? Is this a good-tasting fruit? Can pandan be used for cooking?
What is Pandan?
Plants such as pandanus, commonly known as pandanus in Latin, are used for cooking. This plant is found in Southern Asia and Australia.
In many cultures, pandan leaves have been used for centuries. They have a long, narrow shape with serrated edges and are usually green. They have a sweet scent that can be detected when the leaves are crushed or rubbed together.
Wrapping food like rice and fish in these leaves before steaming or grilling them in the open is very common.
A common addition to Asian rice dishes is pandan because it enhances the flavor of curries that are coconut milk-based, such as Thai red curry.
Because they contain a high level of volatile oils, pandan leaves have a strong aroma and distinct flavor.
Benefits of Pandan
Natural remedies such as pandan have been used for centuries as a cure for various ailments.
Leaf tea contains antioxidants and vitamins that can help prevent oxidative stress, inflammation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.
Proteins may be broken down by a substance called pectinase in the leaves. It could be beneficial for people with ulcers when eaten raw or when made into tea.
Many believe that pandan also affects mood, sleep patterns, and libido. It is also thought to alleviate menstrual pains. As of yet, however, there is no scientific evidence to support those claims.
Besides using it for medicinal purposes, it is also used in Indonesia to cure headaches and sore throats. Wounds can also be treated with it due to its antibacterial characteristics. The herb is also used as a laxative in Indonesia.
What to Do With Pandan?
The pandan leaf is widely used throughout Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia. In Indonesia, it is a popular ingredient in desserts and cooking. At local markets, the leaves can be purchased fresh or frozen.
For example, Pandan cake or rice can be made with this. The leaves can also be boiled in water and sugar or honey added to make tea.
People do not eat raw leaves of the plant, since their color and aroma are used rather than for food.
Infuse the water with the flavor of the leaves by wrapping them in cloth and stringing them tight.
This can be added to liquids such as soups, rice water, coconut milk, and chicken broth without cooking as an extract for tea or flavoring without cooking.
Traditional baked goods can also be given a tropical twist by adding pandan extract to the dough.
Desserts and drinks in Southeast Asia are flavored with pandan extract to provide their signature taste. For desserts containing cream, it is commonly substituted for vanilla extract.
What Does Pandan Taste Like? Does Pandan Taste Good?
Plants such as pandan are tropical and have a sweet and floral taste.
There are also desserts made from pandan in Asia, such as pandan cake and black rice pudding.
Kue Pangong (pandan-flavored sticky rice balls) are popular in Indonesia. Kue Pangong can be brewed as tea, cooked with coconut milk, and added to soups or curries.
In Malaysian cuisine, such as curry chicken noodles or beef rendang, the leaves have an earthy flavor with a hint of honeydew melon and vanilla.
Using pandan only for flavoring is recommended. The leaves have a high concentration of oxalic acid, which makes them unsafe for raw consumption.
Is Pandan Extract Bitter?
Its flavor is sometimes described as bitter because it is so concentrated. A variety of dishes are possible when using it.
It is often used to give desserts and drinks their signature flavor in Southeast Asia. A subtle tropical twist on traditional recipes can also be achieved by baking the extract into bread.
If you prefer a mix with more flavors than just your standard cake and cookie recipes, you can also substitute vanilla extract for it.
How to Store Pandan?
Keeping pandan leaves fresh requires them to be kept in a sealed container and at room temperature. You can freeze the leaves if you don’t use them regularly, so they won’t wilt.
Fresh pandan leaves are shelf-stable in the refrigerator for six months. After opening the extract, preservatives can be lost causing the extract to lose its potency between 12-18 months after opening. Shelf life of 18 months is possible for the extract when unopened.
Don’t let the pandan stand in direct sunlight because this can cause the leaves to turn brown or black
Whenever you notice that the leaves have become wilted, brown, or moldy, throw them out and get new ones.
Pandan leaves are aromatic and have many medical and culinary uses.
Trying pandan for yourself will let you know if you like its flavor. To ensure that your leaves last, store them in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
If you want to read more about cooking, read here: Cooking Tips and Tricks.