English recipe – Please scroll down
Pandan flavour is such a well-loved flavour in local food scene. You may easily obtain bottled pandan essence from baking supply stores or supermarkets but nothing beats the real thing.
Most people obtain pandan juice by blending pandan leaves, this way, the flavour of pandan is way too sharp and unpleasant, quite often, leaves a slight bitter after taste.
Here I’d like to show you a proper way of obtaining natural pandan essence that is rich and concentrated. Hope this sharing will improve the taste and aroma of your cooking and baking that call for pandan flavouring.
Step 1 – Clean and trim off both ends
Due to the plant’s physical structure, pandan leaves tend to collect dirts in between leaves nearer to its root end. Therefore, pull off pandan leaves one by one, rub and clean away the dirts thoroughly prior to cutting.
Once the leaves are ready, trim off approximately 2-1/2inch on each ends as shown in the following photos. The ends of leaves taste slightly astringent, getting rid of these will ensure the pandan essence taste sweet and pleasant.
Step 2 – Cut into smaller pieces
Once you are done with step 1, please cut the pandan leaves into smaller pieces, approximately 1/2inch to 1inch in length. This will ease the blending process later.
Step 3 – Blending the leaves
We need some water during blending. You do not have to take measurement of the amount required, just pour in water enough to cover all the leaves will do.
Next, pour everything (pandan leaf pieces and water) into blender to blend until no big pieces is observed.
Step 4 – Filter the pandan juice
Once you are done blending the pandan leaves, you may sift the juice to filter away the residues.
The pressed residue looks like moss, you may use it as a decoration or you may use it as organic pest control remedy to scare away cockroaches in particular.
Step 5 – Filter the pandan juice for second time
I normally filter the pandan juice twice to ensure that none of the residue get through in the first round of filtering. Photo on the right shows the pandan juice that we end up with.
Step 6 – Wait for precipitation
Store the jar of pandan juice in fridge for 2-3 days, let the pandan essence precipitate over time. Eventually, pandan essence will precipitate at the bottom of jar, a layer of pandan water will be observed on top of the precipitation.
Carefully pour out the pandan water, you may keep this for other use like cooking chicken rice, gula Melaka syrup and so forth.
The dark green colour precipitation is the pandan essence that we want. For longer shelf life, pour the pandan essence into ice cube tray and freeze it. By doing this, you will be able to have ready to use natural pandan essence anytime you need it.
Natural pandan essence can be used for cooking nyonya kaya, making nyonya kuih, baking ondeh-ondeh cake, chiffon cake and many more.
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