What can a pandan can do?
September 5, 2006 7:05 PM   Subscribe

South Asian cooking: what can I make with a can of pandan?

My mom gives me the weirdest things. On her last visit she brought me a can labeled Pandan Leaves Extract, which she picked up at an Asian grocery, precisely because she had no idea what it was. I had never heard of pandan leaves myself, but a little googling reveals that it is a tropical plant used widely in South Asian cooking. So now, the challenge is for me to make something scrumptious with it.

I have found lots of recipes that involve pandan, but the problem is that they don't seem to involve the form of pandan I have here. They call for leaves (fresh or frozen), or for extract. Though the can is labeled extract, it doesn't seem to be the same stuff as the recipes call for, which is measured in teaspoons and appears to be something like this, rather than the 14-oz can I've got. The ingredients are listed as water, pandan leaves extract, and FD&C yellow no. 5, so I think this is more like diluted pandan extract, or pandan juice from concentrate, or something.

So, what do people use these cans of pandan juice for? Is there a conversion rate for pure pandan extract to this stuff? Or is it meant to be used differently? What can/should I cook with it for mom?
posted by bookish to Food & Drink (8 answers total)

Marinate chicken or pork with it. Or shrimp or fish, for that matter. And then grill it.

Or add it to a rice dish.

It's hard to say, since I don't know what it tastes like, but google for recipies and then try and see how you can use what you have and some of the other ingredients in that recipe. Experiment.
posted by BradNelson at 7:47 PM on September 5, 2006

It's a flavour enhancer in a way - most people use it for desserts. There is also pandan chicken, which is quite nice.

Look up Malay recipes, they use a lot of pandan. (and it's more South East Asia than South Asia...)
posted by divabat at 8:41 PM on September 5, 2006

Pandan extract is typically used for making cakes and such; in Malay/Nonya cuisine, there's a category of snacks called "kuehs" that often involve the use of pandan.

A simple cake you could try is the pandan chiffon cake. You could also make kaya, a kind of jam made from eggs and coconut milk. Kaya goes great on bread with a bit of butter.

Basically, think of pandan essence in the way you'd think of vanilla essence.
posted by destrius at 9:25 PM on September 5, 2006

Is it a canned-food-type can or a soda-type can?

I ask because I've seen plenty of oddly-flavored drinks in Asian food stores. Might it be intended as a beverage and not an ingredient?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:46 AM on September 6, 2006

Might it be intended as a beverage and not an ingredient?

Pandan isn't something you'd want to be drinking straight out.
posted by divabat at 1:55 PM on September 6, 2006

the leaves can be in mango sticky rice, which is very good. if the extract/juice is very mild tasting you might be able to do this by boiling the rice in it first, if it's stronger you could make the rice with water and add a little of the extract to the sauce.
posted by lgyre at 12:47 AM on September 7, 2006

Several good ideas here... thank you, folks!

I think I'll have to consult my boyfriend on what he feels like eating with me before I decide what to cook. But I will return when I have succesfully accomplished pandaniliciousness, to mark the best idea and report how it worked.
posted by bookish at 6:18 PM on September 7, 2006

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