How to Use Pandan Extract and What Can You Use It For
Aromatic extracts have long been used in the culinary world to elevate the flavor of a dish. Among these, the Pandan extract has been gaining the attention of many because it is a versatile ingredient to use in cooking. Not only that, but it also adds some health benefits to the person who ingests it regularly.
Pandan extract is sourced from the Screwpine plant. This is native to Asian countries, particularly in South Asia. The plant Pandan has been dubbed as the vanilla of Southeast Asia. This has been a staple aromatic in many kitchens, especially if rice dishes are made daily. The part of the plant that is used in cooking is its long blade-like leaves, which gives off a sweet and soothing scent.
How to Use Pandan Extract
Pandan Extract can be used in a variety of cooking methods. To use, all one has to do is to add the desired amount of extract to the wet ingredients of the dish. In Southeast Asian cooking, it is often added to coconut milk. This makes it more fragrant and more delicious, especially if it is used in desserts. Most people usually add the same amount they use for vanilla extract.
Uses of Pandan Extract
Pandan is famously used in cooking in Southeast Asia. They use this to flavor dishes that range from savory to sweet. However, the uses of this extract don’t stop there. It is also included in the list of herbal medicines because of the health benefits it gives. For this reason, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve common illnesses.
A. Culinary Uses
1: Alternative to vanilla
In Southeast Asian kitchens, when they run out of vanilla extracts, they can always go to Pandan extract to do the job. Like vanilla, it gives off a sweet scent that leans toward the grassy kind instead of floral. When added, this makes food more delicious because of its aroma.
In cooking, this is mainly used as a flavoring. It elevates the flavor of a dish by creating more depth in the aroma with every bite. Aside from dishes, this can also be used to give teas flavor by adding a few drops to their ready-made ones if they want to make it taste more like dessert. The aroma of Pandan is on the sweeter side and may mask some unpleasant scents in herbal teas to make it more acceptable to the palate.
3: Rice Dishes
A few drops of this extract added to plain rice while it is still cooking can make it more fragrant. This is helpful, especially for old rice. When it is added before cooking, the rice will be able to assimilate the aroma within it. For savory dishes like Nasi Lemak, this is often added to the coconut milk used to cook the rice to give it more aroma. Other cuisines will also place a few drops of this extract in the water used to steam the rice.
This extract is a great flavoring for desserts. It blends well with both coconut milk or cream. Like vanilla, this makes sweet food more sumptuous through its scent. A whiff of it during eating will already keep the person satisfied without adding too much sweetness. It can also be added to cake batters to make it more fragrant when cooked.
5: Food Coloring
The extract has a natural green shade to it. This can be used to give some dishes color to make them more pleasing to the eye.
B. Herbal Uses
The Pandan leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. Because of this reason, this has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat common colds. When used in teas, this can help relieve a person from constipation. It can also be a good treatment for skin problems like boils. A few drops can be placed in a bandage and applied to the affected part.
Health Benefits of Pandan Extract
A. Helps in Joint Pain
Studies have shown that the oil inside Pandan leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is also present in the extracted form. A small amount of the extract is mixed with coconut oil to make a topical solution. This is applied to arthritic joints to achieve pain relief.
B. Lowers Blood Sugar
A study has shown that this extract may help lower the levels of sugar in the blood. In a study, they compared two groups who drank a tea with Pandan against those who only drank plain tea. After the experiment, the results showed that the participants in the group with the Pandan tea have lower blood sugar counts compared to the other group.
C. Increases Oral Health
Because Pandan is an aromatic plant, its natural scent may help improve oral health. This may be able to mask bad breath by simply chewing a bit of the leaf or by dropping a few amounts of the extract into the mouth.
Where to get Pandan Extract
There are already many ready-to-use extracts available both in online and offline stores. When it’s hard to find one in the area, a person can also make the extract from fresh leaves. All she needs to do is to put the leaves in the food processor, add hot water, and extract the liquid by pressing it through a strainer.
Pandan extracts have many uses. This can be widely used in cooking. A person can use this from making appetizers, main courses, and desserts. It can also be added to drinks such as teas. Its unique sweet and nutty flavor make dishes more sumptuous by adding depth to their aroma. It can even replace vanilla in the kitchen because it has a similar scent.
However, the use of this extract does not only stop in the culinary world. It also has the medicinal quality that makes it great to be go-to relief for flu-like symptoms and joint pain. Its health benefits may stem from the fact that it carries with it several vitamins and minerals that help boost health.