Imagine this sensation on your palate: A commingling of freshly cut grass & steamed rice, enhanced with rose, almond, và vanilla, with underlying notes of coconut. That"s pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius), a palm-like, cultivated plant with long, slender, spiky green leaves that are commonly used in Thai và Southeast Asian cooking (via The Spruce Eats).

Bạn đang xem: What is it? how do pandan leaves taste in desserts and more?

Pandan has grown in popularity & is quickly becoming more & more common across the world. Culinary trendsetter Nigella Lawson compared its uses and popularity with other fads lượt thích matcha & avocado when she noted the spread of pandan usage across the United States & the United Kingdom (via The Times). There"s no doubt that pandan is a delicious và exciting ingredient with many uses.

Maybe you recognize the flavor from a dish at your favorite bầu restaurant, or you"ve never tasted it before but are intrigued by the possibility of incorporating a new ingredient into your at-home cooking. Either way, we"ve got you covered. Read on lớn learn everything you need khổng lồ know about pandan.

Hanifah Kurniati/Shutterstock
Pandan is a culinary ingredient that refers to the leaves of a specific herbaceous plant that thrives in tropical climates, as well as the products made from these leaves. The leaves are long & oblong & vary from medium khổng lồ large sizes. A regularly harvested plant will produce narrow leaves up khổng lồ a meter in length that come lớn a point, and they are visually similar to lớn the vị trí cao nhất of a pineapple plant.

The plant"s name varies across languages. In English, we hotline it screwpine, while it is known as rampe, takonoki, daun pandan, bai toey hom, & chan xiang lan in Hindi, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai, and Mandarin, respectively. No matter what you điện thoại tư vấn it, the leaves of the plant have become an important ingredient. Although the exact origin of pandan & its use as a culinary ingredient is unclear, it"s indigenous to Southeast Asia, where it"s extensively cultivated. In addition, the fresh and frozen leaves are sold in South India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and West New Guinea (via Specialty Produce).

Of course, in order for pandan lớn be available, the plant must be grown & its leaves cultivated widely for use. According to Specialty Produce, it is not typically found in the wild at this time. Still, it is planted and grown commercially, và the leaves are used to make different versions of the ingredient. As described by the manufacturer Blueboots Farm, the leaves can be dried and milled into a powder form. It also is common for the leaves to be made into a paste by pounding them, removing the most fibrous pieces, và adding a small amount of water. Elsewhere, pandan extract is made by grinding the leaves up và combining them with water, then straining the ground leaves out and collecting the resultant liquid.

These processes create pandan products that capture the desired flavor in a concentrated form. Indeed, a small amount of powder, extract, or paste goes a very long way when added to a recipe (via The Spruce Eats).

Food 52 adds that there"s more to lớn pandan than the leaves. A few drops of pandan extract or a pinch of pandan powder not only adds a "grassy-sweet" flavor & aroma lớn a variety of sweet & savory dishes, but it turns an ordinary dish into one with a "glorious, green glow." While either powder or extract will work in most recipes calling for the ingredient, one may be more suitable depending on the type of dish you want lớn use it in.

When the leaves are dried and ground, pandan powder can be used to địa chỉ cửa hàng natural green màu sắc and vanilla-like flavor lớn a variety of recipes, including cakes, cookies, macarons, muffins, & breads (via Blueboots Farm). Pandan powder is a great way khổng lồ preserve the plant"s colors và aroma and incorporate them into baked goods.

Pandan extract, on the other hand, is a great way to địa chỉ flavor lớn liquid ingredients. It is an effective way to địa chỉ cửa hàng a distinct layer of flavor to lớn savory broths, stews, curries, và soups. It can also take center stage when mixed with coconut milk & steamed rice, as in the Malaysian dish nasi lemak (via Healthline).

Now, let"s get down to lớn the big question of our pandan ingredient guide: What exactly does pandan taste like? After all, its quality flavor is what makes it such an interesting ingredient. The simplest way lớn describe pandan"s flavor is sweet. However, it has a complex và unique flavor profile that can"t be captured so simply. It is most often compared lớn vanilla — Healthline describes it as vanilla with a grassy undertone & hints of coconut flavor. While it has a soft aroma, the flavor is strong, và it has floral and nutty elements that The Spruce Eats describes as a set of "grassy" và "rose, almond, & vanilla, verging on coconut."

Fans of the ingredient on Quora described the flavor as tangy, citrusy, và delicate. They also noted that a lot of the experience of pandan comes from the distinct aroma và that when the ingredient is used in small amounts, the distinct grassy và floral scent adds a lot to lớn a dish.

Pandan has multiple culinary uses. Healthline explains that the leaves are often boiled or juiced and can be used lớn wrap & flavor meats và sticky rice. When pulverized, bruised, or raked with a fork, the leaves produce a vibrant emerald-green extract that"s used in sweet and savory dishes. The Epicentre adds that pandan leaves are often wrapped around chicken, pork, rice, fish, và desserts before grilling, roasting, barbecuing, & steaming to enhance the flavor and aroma of the plant.

Saveur has many recipe suggestions, from making pandan-scented water with the steeped leaves lớn using the bright green liquid from the leaves in place of vanilla in cakes và breads. You can also địa chỉ the leaves to lớn a pot of rice (with some coconut milk, lemongrass, & turmeric), wrap them around pieces of chicken before steaming & frying, make pandan-coconut ice cream, and địa chỉ leaves khổng lồ your cocktails for a nutty finish.

For more recipe inspiration, check out Devour.Asia"s pandan simple syrup — a sweet infusion that can be used in a variety of ways. In addition, What to Cook Today shares a popular, green-tinged pandan chiffon cake. And for countless pandan recipes, head over khổng lồ Cookpad, where you"ll find pandan"s presence in puddings, cakes, breads, cookies, donuts, pancakes, & waffles.

Saveur dubs pandan the "vanilla of Southeast Asia" & states that if you live near a Thai, Vietnamese, or Southeast Asian grocer, you should grab some fresh or frozen pandan leaves & go to town. But whether the leaves are packaged whole or cut up before being sold, be sure to lớn inspect them before purchasing. In particular, fresh leaves should be green & crisp, not browning or beginning khổng lồ shrivel. If the frozen leaves are discolored or covered in an excess of ice crystals, they are not good khổng lồ use (via The Spruce Eats). Pandan paste, powder, & extract are also available to be purchased in Asian grocery stores. When buying these products, kiểm tra the ingredient list — higher chất lượng products will only use pandan leaves and water, while some brands may include different additives.

The leaves should be available year-round. If you purchase them fresh, you should wrap them in a damp cloth and store them in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator so they will keep for a few days (via Specialty Produce). You can also freeze the leaves yourself. Can"t get khổng lồ an Asian market? No problem — you can find pandan leaves, extract, & powder online at various sources & have them delivered directly lớn your trang chủ (via Food 52).

Pandan is usually used in smaller amounts, but it is important to lớn consider all the nutritional value of the ingredient when using it. Pandan contains minerals lượt thích protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, & fiber, & products made from the leaves vày not contain fats. The high levels of iron are of note, as this mineral aids in circulation và counters low iron levels (via Healthline). The ingredient is also filled with beta carotene, a precursor to lớn Vitamin A that has eyesight và immune system benefits.

Xem thêm: Các Chất Trong Dãy Nào Sau Đây Đều Có Thể Làm Mềm Nước Có Tính Cứng Tạm Thời

Not much scientific research has been conducted on the benefits of pandan, but some studies have acknowledged its uses in non-Western medical practices as treatments for arthritis and inflammation, blood sugar, and oral health. Still, the studies that have been conducted have not evaluated the plant"s effects directly on humans. Pandan also has mild laxative effects & should not be consumed in large amounts.