nonya kuehs

Pandan Pandan Pandan… Pandan. They plant pandan in the Bird park as ornamentals…

Yes, I’ve an obsession over this plant simply called Pandan. Okay, Pandanus amaryllifolius for the scientifically inclined. Also called the screwpine, it is used in too many south-east asian dishes to mention. Ok here goes… Nasi lemak, chicken rice, pandan chicken, chendol, ondeh ondeh, kueh lapis, biryani, etc etc.

It has a rich musky and sweet fragrance that is hard to describe and the cornerstone to many Nonya cakes and sweet desserts. 

I’ve been trying to source for these plants here in Auckland and they are probably more rare than some illicit botanics. Apparently, they hate the cold weather and will die the moment they are exposed to any bit of frost. The frozen leaves can be bought at Asian grocery shops but lack in fragrance. Nothing beats cooking with the real deal and with a bit of effort, it is not impossible to grow them.