Pandanus amaryllifolius is a tropical plant in the Pandanus (screwpine) genus, which is commonly known as 'Pandan’and is used widely in South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking as a flavoring.
Pandan leaves are long, narrow, bright green leaves that come to a point at the tip. When attached to their stems, Pandan leaves resemble the top of a pineapple plant. Pandan has a distinct smell that has been likened to many other scents, including vanilla and coconut. Pandan leaves, when first pounded or broken, have a grassy, herby smell with a hint of cream. When cooked, some liken the scent to roasted tea, basmati rice, almond cream or even milky oolong. It's safe to say that the fragrance of the cooked pandan leaf is mellow and subtle, hitting you at the back of the mouth and top of the palate. When it comes to taste, Pandan gives rice and desserts a slightly nutty flavor. Some cooks say that blended Pandan leaves have a sweet flavor.
Do you know?
The Pandan plant is scientifically known as Pandanus amaryllifolius.
Rare to find in the wild, it is widely cultivated.
The only Pandanus species with fragrant leaves.
Pandan is commonly used in Asian dishes.
Pandan's Behavior & Ecology
Pandanus amaryllifolius is cultivated traditionally and it is not recorded in the wild. It is propagated by root suckers. Suckers 30 to 40 cm are carefully removed and planted in the kitchen garden. It requires regular but light watering for better performance. If there is no sufficient watering, leaves will become chloritic and aroma will not be strong.