Cooks, Meet the Pandan Leaf

Description: A leaf from the tropical 25-foot screwpine tree that looks like something out of the Triassic era, this herb can be used in whole-leaf form (e.g., with rice, curry, or soup while cooking and to wrap fish and chicken in before frying) or as an aromatic powder (e.g., mixed with milk or for pandan ice cream). The pandan leaf also is often pounded into a sweet paste that is diluted with water and adds citrus and pine overtones and a green tint to cakes, crêpes, and curry sauces.  

You Might Like To Know: Buccaneers, raiders, and other assorted scallywags take note: The hypnotic, sexy grass skirts worn by Pacific Island women were made of pandan leaves. 

Purported Benefits: ­­Pandan leaves are believed by some to be a natural cockroach repellent.