Pandan leaves are a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine and are widely used in dishes such as rice, desserts, and curries. These long, narrow, and fragrant leaves come from the pandan plant, which is a tropical plant that grows in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The leaves have a sweet, floral aroma and impart a distinct flavor to dishes they are added to. Pandan is often referred to as Asian vanilla.
Pandan leaves are also believed to have health benefits such as reducing fever and improving digestion. In addition to culinary uses, pandan leaves are also used in traditional medicine and as a natural insect repellent. Overall, pandan leaves are a versatile and important ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking and have many benefits beyond just adding flavor to dishes.
They are very difficult to source fresh, but you can always get them frozen in weirdly shaped packages in Asian grocers. I usually have some in my freezer. Despite having been packaged and frozen, they definitely need washing as the leaf tends to fold over and hide a lot of dirt. So make sure you wash the leaves thoroughly for this recipe.
It needs to be used within a couple of days, the colour does oxidise and it will separate, which is easily resolved with a quick shake. Try making a pandan milk tea. My husband referred to it as grass clippings tea...but I quite liked it. (Simply add a couple of teaspoons of pandan extract to some hot water, topped with hot milk...done!)
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- 6 pandan leaves, frozen or fresh
- 300 Grams water
- 1 Pinch pink salt flakes BUY
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla bean paste BUY
- 60 Grams raw sugar
Wash the pandan leaves thoroughly, even if they are frozen. There will be dirt in the folds.
Place into the Thermomix bowl with the water and blend 2 min/speed 10. Strain out solids with both a sieve and then nut milk bag and rinse out the Thermomix bowl.
Return the liquid to the bowl with salt, vanilla and sugar and cook 5 min/Varoma/speed 4/spatter guard. If you wish to leave the sugar out, by all means do so.
Store in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to a week. It will separate, so it is best to give it a good shake prior to use.