A Pandan plant at my Aunty’s house
Pandan is also known as skrewpine or “fragrant leaves” in Asia. It can be seen growing abundantly, especially in South East Asia, and you can see the pandan plant at my Aunty’s home in Penang. This plant gives a whole year of unending supply of pandan goodness. Pandan is used very extensively in our everyday cooking, as an aromatic flavour enhancer or green colouring agent.
Below are few ideas on how pandan is used in our everyday cooking.
The extensive use of Pandan / screwpine
We use the natural colouring to make Nyonya desserts, such as seri muka, kuih talam, kaya (coconut jam), pandan chiffon cake, pandan jelly, green bean soup, black glutinous rice, gandum, chendol, kuih tayap, kuih kosui, onde onde, and abuk abuk etc. We even place the leaves in our rice when cooking for added fragrance.
However, when we live in Australia, fresh pandan leaves are hard to come by, as the plants do not fare well in cool climates. Thus we rely on frozen pandan leaves from Asian grocers, and let’s not mention about the artifical pandan essense as a colouring on the shelves.
Even if you have successfully planted the pandan plants in a green houses in Australia, it will not be enough for the quantity of leaves you need to make your desserts. On top of that, it is not as aromatic as the ones in Asia due to climate and the evaporation process.
Freeze Dried (contains minute residue) Vs Sprayed Dried (Soluble) Pandan Powder
In short: Fresh leaves go in and dried powder comes out.
In this process the product is not sitting motionless on trays, but is flying around inside the product chamber in a vortex. This dramatically increases the exposed surface area which, in turn, increases the rate of heat exchange allowing larger quantities to be dried faster in this machine up to 36 hours – only fresh produce goes in and dried powder comes out.
Refer wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze-drying
In short, the soluble powder is made from pandan juice itself, thus the powder is soluble with no residual. This is perfect for seri muka etc.
Refer wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spray_drying
How to use the pandan powder?
With the introduction of the Pandan Leaf Powder, all you need is a few teaspoons of the power; that’s all you need to make your Nyonya desserts. I add them directly to my drinks and cooking.
What you have to look out for when using Freeze Dried Pandan:
For freezed dried pandan powder – if you are making sri muka, for example, it is better if you sieve through the pandan juice before adding it to the batter. This is to remove the residue from the dried leaves.
Pandan Leaf Extract is now in a convenient 60ml bottle. You get consistently pure concentrated goodness of Pandanus Amaryllifolius.
One tablespoon of concentrated essence is extracted from 7 Pandan leaves. So a little goes a long way.
How to use the Pandan Extract
How to store your pandan powder and extract?
I would recommend that once the pandan powder packet is opened, it is better to store in a NEW (not recycled) and clean air tight container. This is to preserve the dryness of the pandan powder as well as the aroma/fragrance.
As for the extract, once it is opened, you need to refrigerate the extract. Please note that the extract has a 12 month shelf life (please take into account the duration of transportation and sales process), as it does not contain preservatives. However, once it is kept in the refrigerator, it can be kept for up to 6 more months.
This is my personal opinion, and like all the Little Nyonya pastes, I would tell my customer to keep the pastes in the freezer. By doing so, you can use the pastes anytime without having to worry about the used by date.
There is a possibility you can apply this similar principal to the liquid extract as well. When it is approaching the used by date, pack it in a container suitable for the freezer, and use the extract when needed.
I have created a bundle deal to all the pandan lovers.
For this Pandan bundle special – Purchase at least ONE bottle of Pandan Extract.
And an option to purchase either:
(1) Freezed Dried Pandan Powder (minimum 2 packets) – 30% discount
(2) Sprayed Dried Pandan Powder (minimum 2 packets) – 40% discount
NOTE: ** Minimum 2 packets of either freezed dried or sprayed dried or both, with a 30% discount for Freezed Dried and 40% Sprayed Dried.
This is an amazing deal. Use these as gifts or share the cost with family and friends.
If you love pandan, do check out the bundle deal!