Pandan Leaf comes from Pandanus amaryllifolius, otherwise known as the Screwpine Tree and is used as a flavouring where it imparts a fairly ethereal aroma to dishes. It's the type of flavour that is hard to describe but you know when it has been used.
The leaf isn't eaten, it's usually tied into a ribbon and cooked in the dish and then removed before serving. In that respect, it is a bit like using a vanilla pod.
The recipe I've made today is one that has re-entered my mind since I saw it recently on an episode of Hairy Bikers Mums Know Best - it's sticky black rice served with pandan infused coconut milk.
250 grams black glutinous rice
140 grams palm sugar
2 pandan leaves
400mls coconut milk
Make the coconut milk:
Place a pandan leaf and the coconut milk into a saucepan and simmer very slowly, without boiling until thickened.
Make the rice pudding:
You might find black glutinous rice sold under other names such as Thai Black Rice, Sticky Black Rice or Thai Purple Rice - it does not contain gluten but gets its name because of glutinous properties when cooked.
The rice needs to be soaked overnight in cold water and in the morning you'll find your water has become quite deep purple colour - the grains themselves will look more purple too as you can see in the photo below
The unsoaked rice to the top and the soaked at the bottom.
Drain the soaked rice and place in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water and a pandan leaf - simmer this slowly until the rice has cooked through - it should have a somewhat chewy texture.
Add the sugar, stir until dissolve and allow to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
You'll end up with a thickish deep purple liquid surrounding your grains of rice - remove the pandan leaf and discard.
Serve it topped with a generous drizzle of coconut milk.