Celeb chef Nigella says pandan will be the next big thing: Here's how Asians have been using it for years

Celeb chef Nigella says pandan will be the next big thing: Here's how Asians have been using it for years
PHOTO: The New Paper

Brace yourselves for the next food trend.

Need a hint? Just take a quick look around your kitchen.

That's because the latest 'it' food product is none other than our well-loved pandan leaves.

Restaurants and food fanatics over in the West have recently gotten a whiff of the sweet-smelling pandan leaves and predict these as the next big thing in the culinary world.

After all, Nigella Lawson has already called it.

The celebrity chef said the leaves - which are commonly found in many Southeast Asian homes - have already started to turn heads among restaurants in the UK and is slowly picking up steam in the US.

"I think it's going to be the new matcha," Lawson said.

Pandan latte, imagine that.

Like it or not, we might start seeing pandan-based foods all over our Instagram feeds in time to come.

Here are 3 ways the aromatic leaves are commonly used in this part of the world:

1. Baking and cooking

You've probably seen tourists lugging boxes of goodies from homegrown bakery Bengawan Solo at Changi Airport.

More often than not, these boxes might have contained fluffy pandan chiffon cakes that visitors wanted to share with family back home.

And we don't blame them. The ingredient has likely been infused in various types of Asian cuisines for years or even centuries now.

The leaves are famously used to wrap savoury Asian delights such as pandan leaf chicken while pandan essence is used in many types of sweet treats such as Chendol, pandan swiss rolls, pandan jellies and more.

2. Natural air fresheners

Pandan leaves, known as Screwpine leaves in the West, are also used as a form of natural fragrance used in enclosed spaces like cars and closets.

Some people believe these leaves are a good way to repel cockroaches too. But take note because that's only true if the leaves are fresh.

3. Health benefits

From reducing stomach cramps to getting rid of gum pain, pandan leaves have long been viewed as extremely useful when it comes to healing methods.

The leaves are often used in brewing various herbal teas along with other ingredients such as lemongrass and safflower.

Pandan leaves are also said to contain essential oils and its leaf extracts are believed to be highly beneficial for certain health conditions.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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