A perennial grass with a perfume that’s at once vanilla-like, floral, and nutty, pandan brings vibrant flavor to all sorts of dishes, from Malay-style red-cooked chicken to ice cream to chiffon cake.
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Gai Hor Bai Toey (Thai Pandan-Wrapped Chicken)
Pandan, the aromatic leaves of a perennial grass, are wrapped around chunks of coconut-milk-marinated chicken, steamed, and finally deep-fried in this sweet-savory Thai recipe. Steaming the chicken in pandan leaves imparts a floral fragrance, while deep-frying caramelizes the sugary marinade and browns the leaves, imbuing the meat with a nutty flavor.
See the recipe for Gai Hor Bai Toey (Thai Pandan-Wrapped Chicken) »
Fragrant leaves of pandan, a perennial grass with an intoxicating vanilla-like aroma, bring a floral dimension to this Malay dish of chicken simmered in a thick chile-spiked tomato gravy.
Ayam Masak Merah (Malay-Style Red-Cooked Chicken with Pandan) »
Pandan Chiffon Cake
Emerald green, fluffy pandan chiffon cake, beloved from Indonesia to Singapore, is a curious manifestation of America’s culinary influence on Southeast Asia. In 1948 Better Homes and Gardens published a General Mills recipe for chiffon cake. Years later the recipe made its way to Southeast Asia—most likely on boxes of imported cake flour—where home cooks made a version flavored with the juice from pandan, an aromatic grass with a floral, vanilla-like flavor. By the 1970s, viridian chiffon cake was all the rage, and it’s just as popular today as it was 30 years ago.
See the recipe for Pandan Chiffon Cake »
These Malay poached rice flour dumplings, coated with shredded coconut, are plump with a filling of melted palm sugar that floods the mouth when bitten into. Pandan, the aromatic leaves of a perennial grass, gives them a green color and a vanilla-like scent.
Get the recipe for Onde-Onde (Pandan, Palm Sugar, and Coconut Dumplings) »
Pandan Leaf Ice Cream
Often used in Thai desserts, pandan leaf lends a warm, nutty, sweet flavor to this coconut ice cream.
See the recipe for Pandan Leaf Ice Cream »