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Pandan, also known as screw pine, is an aromatic tropical plant. Southeast Asians and Filipinos use the leaves of the plant to add flavor to rice and other dishes. You can make a juice by boiling the leaves and letting them steep. You can then cook with the juice or add gelatin to make a beverage called buko pandan. Look for fresh pandan leaves at Asian grocery stores or import food shops.
Fill a large pot 2/3 with cold water. Put the water on high to boil.
Gather a bunch of pandan leaves together and tie them into a knot. How much you use depends on how aromatic you want your juice. The more pandan you use the better. Tying the leaves into a knot makes them easier to remove later.
Drop the knot of pandan into the boiling water. The water will stop boiling, briefly, then resume.
Let the leaves boil for five minutes. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer the leaves for another 10 minutes until the leaves soften and the water turns green. The more leaves you use, the darker the water will be.
Remove the leaves from the juice. Let the juice cool to room temperature and transfer it to an air-tight container. Store the juice in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
- Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages: Pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius Roxb.)
- “The Filipino-American Kitchen: Traditional Recipes, Contemporary Flavors”; Jennifer M. Aranas, et al.; 2006
- Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images