Pandan Leaf FlowerPandan leaves are medium to large and are elongated, narrow, and oblong. The leaves have a unique and distinct grassy aroma when first crushed that mellows out to a subtle, herbal, and floral aroma. When cooked, Pandan leaves have a nutty, almond, rose-like, and slightly sweet flavor.
Pandan leaves are used to add flavor and aroma to rice dishes, desserts, cakes, and beverages. It is also commonly added to chicken or pork broth for additional flavor. Pandan leaves can be purchased fresh or frozen in Asian specialty stores and some well-stocked grocery stores. They can be stored frozen for up to 6 months or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If using frozen leaves, allow them to thaw completely before use. Pandan extract can be found in some spice shops and Asian specialty stores, but if not available, pandan leaves may be substituted for vanilla extract.
Pandan leaves are commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking to enhance the flavor of coconut milk-based curries such as Red Curry (Thai), Fish Curry (Malaysian), and Chicken Curry (Singaporean). Pandan leaves are also commonly used as a flavoring for many desserts such as ice cream, cakes, pudding, custards, creme brulee, puddings, etc. They are also used to impart color in certain dishes like rice and coconut milk-based steamed cakes known as Putu Mayam in Malaysia and Indonesia. In Sri Lanka, Pandan leaves are commonly used as a natural food dye for rice flour-based sweets such as sevai/pittu and kokis. Pandan leaves are also commonly used to wrap savory fillings before being steamed, grilled, or baked.
Pandan extract color is a light yellow/green, and it is used in various types of dishes to add a scent and flavor. In addition to food products, pandan extract is also used in cosmetics, shampoos, detergents, perfumes, candles, and other household items. When the pandan extract was combined with viscous acacia in the ratio of 1:1, it produced a greenish paste. At pH 8.0, this formulation is stable with desirable appearance and physical characteristics, for about 6 months without any preservatives.