About pokok pandan
Pandan is a tropical plant native to Malaysia.
The leaves are long, narrow at the end and pointed. The height of pandan tree is about a metre tall.
Pandan leave has multiple usage in the Malay cuisine. It can be used to cook Nasi Lemak and sweet porridge like Bubur Pulut Hitam and Bubur Kacang Hijau.
Besides that, it also can act as natural food colouring, a brush and natural fragrance to cooking.
Cooking rice with pandan
Nasi lemak is one of the great example of cooking rice with pandan.
The pandan leaves give a good aroma to the rice while maintaining the white colour of rice.
It does not matter how many pandan leaves you put in the rice but the colour of the rice remains white.
One of the question is when to put pandan leaves when cook rice?
At beginning of cooking, put pandan leaves all at once in the pot with rice.
The longer the pandan leaves in the rice while cooking, the more fragrance comes from it.
Not only nasi lemak but other types of rice produce better aroma with pandan leaves such as Nasi Minyak and Nasi Briyani
Natural colouring in food
Sometimes other than putting the pandan leaves in the nasi lemak, I put pandan extract in it. I use four tablespoons of pandan extract to mix in the rice.
I make extract fresh from pandan leaves for Nasi Lemak and it tastes better. This is my alternative way of cooking Nasi Lemak.
The pandan extract can produce a beautiful very light green colour of the nasi lemak with a good taste and fragrance smell.
This fragrance aroma may raise our appetite to eat.
Malay kuih use pandan juice for natural food colouring such as Kuih Seri Muka and Puteri Ayu.
The kuih is tasty and has a nice fragrance.
How to make food colouring
Cut pandan leaves into small pieces.
Add some water in pandan and blend it to produce natural green colour.
Filter the blended pandan leaves for pandan juice.
How to make pandan extract
For the kuih or cake that is not using pandan juice, I make an extract from pandan.
How to make pandan extract is by storing the blended pandan juice in glass for two days in the refrigerator.
After two days pour out the water on top and the pandan extract is at the bottom.
How to make Pandan Brush
Take two pandan leaves and place it on top of one another. Then using scissors cut the pointed end of the leaves giving you only a straight shaped leaves.
These straight shaped leaves is then cut into three with each length aproximately 10 cm. Use twist band to tie at the end of leaves and cut a bit at the other end to make it look like a brush.