Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Have you ever heard of pandan?

I didn't really know anything about pandan until I met a Chinese lady at a party my sister was hosting last week. She brought a pandan swiss roll cake to the party so we got talking about what pandan is and how it is used in cooking and baking in Southeast Asia. Although it isn't really used in Japan I was very interested to learn about pandan and thought you'd find this post interesting.

Pandan is a leaf that's often called the vanilla of Southeast Asia. It has a beautiful smell and adds flavour and colour to dishes. 

Fresh pandan leaves are available in the Asian market in Dublin however depending on where you live it may be difficult to find them so you could use bottled pandan extract instead. I have to mention that it's not as nice as the homemade version and it contains some ingredients that I couldn't even attempt to pronounce!

I will post a recipe for pandan Swiss roll cake in the next few days. Here's my instructions for making homemade pandan extract.

You will need:
- Fresh pandan leaves
- Blender or a pestle and mortar
- Sieve
- Large bowl
- Water 
- Small container or jar with a lid

1. Wash the pandan leaves and cut off any parts that don't look fresh.

2. Chop the pandan leaves as finely as you can because the leaf is very tough and the blender will struggle with large pieces. 

3. Place the chopped pandan in a blender.

4. Pour some water into the blender to help blend the leaves together to form a paste (the water content should not go above the level of the chopped leaves.).

5. Blend until the chopped leaves are like a stringy green paste.  

6. Place a sieve over a large bowl and strain the pandan leaves through the sieve by pressing on the leaves or squeezing them. 

7. You'll see the dark green pandan extract sitting in the bowl below the sieve. Pour this into clean jam jars or any type of small container you can seal. 

8. Store in the fridge and stir before using as the most concentrated liquid will sink to the bottom.

These are just some of the health benefits associated with the pandan leaf:
- contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties
- soothes and heals various skin related problems
- chewing the leaf helps bad breath and improves the health of your gums
- helps with headaches, arthritis and stomach spasms
- heals various wounds
- helps women after giving birth with cramps and weakness 

The pandan will lose some of its flavour if it's frozen so try to use fresh pandan extract.
Store in the fridge for a few days or a little more. 


  1. I love your blog it's always so interesting. Does the pandan colour food well?

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I usually use matcha to give a vibrant green colour to food. I found the pandan works amazingly. It gives the food a beautiful green colour and it's so easy to work with. The added bonus is that the kitchen will be filled with the aroma of pandan.

  2. I've never heard of this! Look forward to seeing the Swiss roll cake :)

    1. I made the swiss roll cake a few times but I haven't had a chance to photograph it yet. Will post the recipe in a few days. I brought one into work and my colleagues seemed to love it :0) There was a wonderful smell of pandan all over the house for days!

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  4. Hi.I'm from Malaysia.Currently living in Tokyo.In Malaysia,we always use pandan in our dessert.Pandan is famous with nice smell and good taste!


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