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Pandan leaves are long, narrow, bright green leaves that come to a point at the tip. When attached to their stems, Pandan leaves resemble the top of a pineapple plant. Pandan has a distinct smell that has been likened to many other scents, including vanilla and coconut. Pandan leaves, when first pounded or broken, have a grassy, herby smell with a hint of cream. When cooked, some liken the scent to roasted tea, basmati rice, almond cream or even milky oolong. It's safe to say that the fragrance of the cooked pandan leaf is mellow and subtle, hitting you at the back of the mouth and top of the palate. When it comes to taste, Pandan gives rice and desserts a slightly nutty flavor. Some cooks say that blended Pandan leaves have a sweet flavor.
Pandan leaves are available year-round.
The Pandan plant is scientifically known as Pandanus amaryllifolius, and although is rare to find in the wild, it is widely cultivated. Pandan leaves are also commonly known as Screwpine and Pandanus, and they are the only Pandanus species with fragrant leaves. Pandan is commonly used in Asian dishes like kaya (a coconut custard or jam spread on bread or crackers), and can be used to flavor rice and various desserts. In Hawaii (where one variety of Pandan grows and is referred to as "hala") horticulturist and gardening columnist Heidi Bornhorst once wrote that "old stories tell of lost fishermen in canoes adrift at sea finding their way home via the fragrances of hala." Pandan is now being used more frequently in modern cooking. The Singapore branch of Wolfgang Puck's Cut eateries featured its own take on kaya toast, while other outlets have been known to serve fusion dishes like churros with Pandan coconut, and Pandan scones or even Pandan mooncakes.
Pandan leaves are rich in essential oils, glycosides, and alkaloids, and traces of tannin and isoprene esters. They are traditionally used for pain relief and as a laxative. They are said to provide relief from arthritis, and can help reduce stomach cramps. They are also said to help reduce fever, and have benefits when applied to the skin.
Pandan leaves are used in sweet and savory dishes, from rice to desserts. It is often cooked with coconut, such as in nasi lemak rice. Pairs well with glutinous rice, lemongrass, milk, brown sugar, and turmeric. Kaya, or pandan-flavored coconut egg jam, is a traditional Pandan dish still found today in Malaysia and Singapore. The Peranakans also use Pandan to flavor Kueh (cakes) or ondeh (glutinous rice balls with palm sugar). One well-known cake is the pandan chiffon cake, popular in the 1950s. The leaves can be pounded into a paste to extract the juice, and although it takes a good number of leaves and a lot of pounding, cooks say a little of the paste goes a long way. To infuse rice, Pandan leaves are tied into knots and used in the cooking process. In Thailand, Pandan leaves are used to wrap pieces of chicken before they are fried. However, those who have tasted this dish say that apart from the aroma that hits you when you unwrap the leaves, the leaves do not actually impart much flavor to the dish itself.
Pandan leaves are widely used by the Peranakan people (Chinese or Straits-born Chinese who are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya).Taxi drivers in Singapore and Malaysia use the leaves as an insect repellent to keep away pests like cockroaches. While others are said to use them to keep away ants. In India, Pandan leaves are said to be holy to the gods Shiva and Ganesh. In some Indian villages the leaves are tossed into open wells to scent the drinking water.
The origins of Pandan leaves cannot be traced back to a specific location, but the plant grows all over Southeast Asia. It is also found in South India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and West New Guinea. The wide distribution of Pandan leaves suggest a long history of cultivation.
Recipes that include Pandan Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
Someone spotted Pandan Leaves using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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Your Dekalb Farmers Market
Near Scottdale, Georgia, United States
About 210 days ago, 8/28/16
Spotter's comments : Pandan Leaves spotted at Your Dekalb Farmers Market.