Asian Recipes/ Recipes/ Roundup

11 Essential Sweet & Savoury Pandan Recipes

22/10/2022

Pandan is a popular Southeast Asian ingredient, with a subtle vanilla flavour and bright green colour! Find out all about how to use pandan leaves, extract or paste in this collection of amazing sweet and savoury pandan recipes.

What is Pandan?

Pandan (also known as pandanus amaryllifolius or screwpine) is a tropical plant valued for its intense green colour and grassy vanilla flavour. It’s a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines, especially Indonesian, Malaysian and Filipino. 

Fresh pandan juice and extract are deep green in colour, with an aroma similar to vanilla essence, but a little more on the earthier side. 

Pandan paste on the other hand, is responsible for the vibrant, bright green you see in sweets like dadar gulung or klepon. It tends to be more concentrated and potent than fresh pandan, but is made from artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Fresh Pandan Leaves

Fresh pandan leaves are often used whole, as a wrapper for grilled, steamed or fried meats like pandan chicken, or tied in a knot to add flavour and colour while cooking rice. 

  • Pros: Fresh natural flavour and colour! Leaves only last a few days unless frozen.
  • Cons: Fresh leaves can be hard to source depending on where you live. 
Jar showing the layers of pandan water and pandan extract concentrate.

Pandan Juice and Extract

Pandan extract and juice are extracted from fresh pandan leaves blended with water. It’s used in many Southeast Asian dishes; desserts in particular. It’s easy to extract at home using a blender. 

  • Pros: Freshest flavour and free from artificial ingredients and preservatives.
  • Cons: Not readily available store-bought. 

Pandan Flavouring / Essence (Pasta Pandan)

The most popular and widely available brand is Koepoe Koepoe. Look for it at Asian grocery stores or import stores, or buy pasta pandan online from Amazon or ebay.

  • Pros: Quickest and easiest to use. Concentrated colour and flavour – a little goes a long way!
  • Cons: Contains sugar (glucose), artificial ingredients, colours and preservatives.

FAQs

How should I store fresh pandan leaves?

Wash and dry your fresh pandan leaves, then wrap them in damp paper towel and store in the fridge for around 4 days. You may like to fold them to save space.

To freeze, spread them out on a baking tray and snap freeze for around 30 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for around 6 months. 

How long does pandan juice or extract last?

Fresh pandan juice will last for 2-3 days in a glass jar or container in the fridge. It tends to lose its potency very quickly, so we don’t recommend making a huge batch or freezing. 

Can I use pandan as a substitute for vanilla extract?

Yes you could! The flavour isn’t exactly the same, but will give that hint of floral warmth you get from vanilla extract with a touch more earthiness. Don’t forget though, it will also turn your recipe green! For something fun, try it in our strawberry muffins recipe, or use it to turn blancmange pudding green!

Savoury Pandan Recipes

White bowl with pandan extract on a wooden board.
Easy 2 Ingredient Pandan Extract
Pandan leaves and water are all that stand between you and fresh pandan extract with no nasties. Grab your blender and whip this up in two minutes!
Easy 2 Ingredient Pandan Extract
Pandan chicken pieces wrapped in pandan leaves on a white plate.
Thai Pandan Chicken
Pandan chicken is the number one entree we order at Thai restaurants. It's easier than you might think to make these juicy chicken bites at home. Wrapped in pandan leaves and deep fried, they're crispy, golden and delicious!
Thai Pandan Chicken
White bowl full of creamy pumpkin curry.
Creamy Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry – Wattakka Kalu Pol
A creamy Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry ready in under 30 minutes! Wattakka Kalu Pol is naturally vegan and infused with aromatic spices and roasted coconut.
Creamy Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry – Wattakka Kalu Pol

Sweet Pandan Recipes

Two pieces of custard and coconut layer cake.
Seri Muka – Coconut Pandan Layer Cake
Cute, colourful and delicious, Kuih Seri Muka is a salty sweet treat that's totally moreish! This traditional Nyonya dessert is the perfect combo of coconut rice with a sweet layer of pandan custard.
Seri Muka – Coconut Pandan Layer Cake
Two pandan waffles on a plate.
Pandan Waffle – Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa
Whip up a batch of Vietnamese style Pandan Waffles in less than 10 minutes. Chewy, fluffy and a little bit crispy, these bright green waffles are filled with coconut and pandan flavours.
Pandan Waffle – Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa
Fresh Indonesian rice cakes known as klepon or onde onde.
Klepon – Indonesian Sweet Rice Cakes (Onde Onde)
Klepon (also known as onde onde in Malaysia and Singapore) is a sweet rice cake treat you'll want to whip up again and again. Bite into hot, bursting gula melaka, surrounded by chewy pandan and soft coconut, in this awesome Indonesian snack.
Klepon – Indonesian Sweet Rice Cakes (Onde Onde)
Serabi on a plate with saus kinca to drizzle over the top.
Serabi Kuah – Indonesian Coconut Pandan Pancakes
Bright green pancakes filled with salty sweet pandan and coconut flavour are slathered in a rich golden coconut sauce. Let’s learn how to make Serabi Kuah at home!
Serabi Kuah – Indonesian Coconut Pandan Pancakes
Bright green dadar gulung on a white plate with strawberry.
Dadar Gulung – Indonesian Coconut Pancakes
Dadar gulung are a popular street food snack in Indonesia. Pandan-flavoured thin pancakes are filled with sweetened shredded coconut for the perfect treat.
Dadar Gulung – Indonesian Coconut Pancakes
Three glasses of soy milk, with soy beans.
Vietnamese Soy Milk 3 Ways – Sữa Đậu Nành
Make your own easy Vietnamese soy milk at home with only a few ingredients and no overnight soaking required! Includes 3 ways – pandan, peanut and original flavour and a step-by-step video so you get it just right.
Vietnamese Soy Milk 3 Ways – Sữa Đậu Nành
A closeup shot of the layers in Che Ba Mau.
Chè Ba Màu – Vietnamese 3 Colour Dessert
This Vietnamese three colour dessert is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds! Known as Chè Ba Màu, we love its colourful layers of sweet beans, jelly and coconut. It's perfect alongside a piping hot bowl of pho or crispy spring rolls!
Chè Ba Màu – Vietnamese 3 Colour Dessert
Bright green slice of coconut pandan agar agar jelly.
Agar Agar Jelly with Coconut and Pandan
Agar Agar Jelly is delicately sweet and flavoured with coconut and pandan essence. Made with only 5 ingredients, including agar agar powder instead of gelatin, it’s naturally vegan friendly.
Agar Agar Jelly with Coconut and Pandan

Get more recipe ideas here:

11 Essential Sweet & Savoury Pandan Recipes

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