Fragrant and aromatic with a naturally sweet taste. Used to wrap food parcels before steaming. Also added to rice while it cooks or in a curry for a savoury and sweet flavour. Also used to flavour many sweets.
In Chinese, it is known as "fragrant plant" because of its unique, sweet aroma. Also known as Pandan Leaf or Screwpine, the leaves are used for their flavor in many Thai and Southeast-Asian dishes.
A small strip of leaf, only a few cm long is added to the pan when rice is cooked to add flavour and fragrance. Slightly longer strips are added to curry to add flavour and they are even used as wraps when steaming to add flavour.
Pandan leaves are used to lend a unique taste and aroma to flavor desserts and drinks as well as savory dishes. Pandan leaves can also be used to wrap savory foods like sticky rice before steaming. The leaves impart these foods with an aromatic note and also give the dishes visual appeal.
Pandan leaves have a naturally sweet taste and soft aroma. Its flavor is strong, described as grassy with hints of rose, almond, and vanilla, verging on coconut. Pandan shares an aroma compound with basmati rice, so some cooks looking to save money will flavor plain rice with pandan.
Pandan's flavour pairs nicely with ingredients such as coconut milk, sticky rice, turmeric, and lemongrass, and it brings a floral essence to desserts. Pandan also adds an interesting and welcome flavor to cocktails.
In Asia, pandan is used as often as vanilla is in western cuisine.
Fresh leaves have the strongest flavor. To make pandan paste, pound fresh, pandan leaves into a paste, removing the fibrous pieces and adding water sparingly. Pandan extract can be made by grinding the leaves with some water and then straining the mixture; the liquid that remains is the extract. Only a small amount of paste or extract is needed when adding to recipes.