A pandan-flavored glutenous layer cake
What Exactly Is Pandan, And What Does It Taste Like?
By David Tran
There are many Asian dishes, desserts, and drinks that are finding their footing in the United States, and pandan, or “Asian vanilla,” is a green concoction that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, those unfamiliar with it might wonder what it is, how to use it, and why there’s so much hype around it.
Pandan, also known as screwpine, is a tropical green plant with long, spikey leaves that originated as a culinary ingredient on the Indonesian island of Molucca before spreading to other Southeast Asian countries. The leaves are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, and other antioxidants, which can help strengthen immune systems and prevent diseases.
Pandan is often used as a paste, extract, or powder, with many Southeast Asian cuisines using it for its “floral, grassy,” and “sweet and musky” aroma and color, according to Eater. The ingredient can easily be added to coconut milk, turmeric, and lemongrass, used as a replacement for vanilla, or incorporated into dishes by blending the leaves with water and then adding it to your mixture.