Pandan leaf (malay = Daun Pandan)

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Description of Pandan

Pandan leaves are indispensable to Nonya dishes, especially in Malay or Nonya desserts and in steamed coconut rice (Nasi Lemak).
The pandan leaves commonly used for cooking are from Pandanus amaryllifolius, which is an upright, green shrub-like plant wuth fan-shaped sprays of long, narrow, blade-like leaves.
Since the pandan leaves are fairly long, they are normally knotted as shown in one of the photos above, before boiling in the pot with rice, water, syrup or dessert ingredients.
The pandan leaves are from a relative of the screw-pine plant (also a relative of the plant which provides leaves for making "mengkuang" products).
and the leaves are also a source of natural green food colouring that comes with built-in flavouring.

Actually, the leaf that is used only for the natural green colouring (but with no flavour) is another variety known locally as "pandan serani".
Here is a picture of this plant (pandan serani) in the foreground, with the regular pandan plants in the background.

Another version of the pandan serani plant found in my garden.

One other use of the pandan leaves unrelated to cooking is as a "cockroach or insect repellant"; just use one entire pandan leaf (usually tied in a knot) and place in a drawer, closet or behind furniture. This is guaranteed to keep away unwanted insects and roaches for weeks at a time.

Link to Nonya Cooking Ingredients website, description of Pandan leaf.

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