The “Dadar Gulung” with Pandanus (Balinese green pancakes) – Photograph: Lucas Heitz, the curious gardener.

The edible Pandanus, botanical name Pandanus amaryllifolius is a traditional tropical aromatic plant of Asian gastronomy, especially in Vietnam, Indonesia and Burma. Sometimes called “Pandan”, this erect perennial has long, fragrant leaves with a subtle flavor of vanilla almond and freshly cut grass. Today very trendy, many American but also British chefs use Pandanus in their cooking, especially in pancakes, cakes and ice cream. The famous and highly publicized English chef Nigella Lawson declared that it was the “new matcha”!

How is Pandanus used in the kitchen?

The leaves are cooked fresh to obtain a juice. This juice is mainly used as a flavor enhancer in culinary preparations and in particular in sticky rice dishes, or in the form of drinks or sweets. Besides aroma, pandanus leaves also give food a green color. This natural dye is used in particular in the production of “Dadar Gulung”, the famous Balinese green pancakes. It is also possible to add pandanus juice to your recipes for milkshakes, rice pudding or cupcakes.

Another option, you can also tie a knot directly with the fresh Pandanus leaf before infusing it in a cake or flan batter, as you would with vanilla. It is also possible to use the Pandanus to create small papillotes with the leaves in order to bring flavor and tenderness to meats, in particular with chicken and fish during cooking.


The Edible Pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius) – Photograph: Lucas Heitz, the curious gardener.

Other traditional uses of Pandanus!

Beyond its food use, pandanus leaves are used to make beautiful little baskets or braided containers. Also, it is not uncommon to find leaves of the plant tied in cupboards in Southeast Asia because the odoriferous leaves of the pandanus have a repellent effect on insects and especially on cockroaches.

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How to grow Pandanus at home?

For its cultivation, this tropical perennial plant, which does not exceed one meter in adult height, appreciates sunny exposures as well as rich, cool and well-drained soils. Not being a rustic plant, its culture in pot is recommended in order to be able to bring it inside during the winter period. However, indoor or conservatory cultivation of this plant is possible throughout the year.


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Amazing & Bizarre

Amazing & Bizarre is a gardening blog dedicated to curious gardeners and lovers of rare plants. Find all our natural gardening advice, our culture sheets, our original cooking recipes, our DIY tips and our creative ideas!

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