Homemade Pandan Paste

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When baking with pandan, I would normally use store-bought pandan paste instead of freshly-squeezed pandan juice. This is because fresh pandan leaves are not available here and often times, the frozen pandan leaves that can be found in most Asian stores are of such subpar quality that they are just not worth using. Once in a blue moon however, I might be able to get decent frozen pandan leaves (ones that haven’t sat on the freezer shelf for months on end) and what I mean by “decent” is that the leaves are actually still fragrant (and yes, I can actually smell the floral pandan fragrance through the air holes of the package even though the leaves are still frozen, and that’s how I know the leaves are “fresh”).

Anyways, I actually managed to get a couple packages of these super “fresh” frozen pandan leaves a couple of weeks ago and decided to try making pandan paste with them. Although I find store-bought, bottled pandan paste to be an acceptable substitute (beggars can’t be choosers) and extremely convenient, I would (if given a choice) prefer not to consume the artificial coloring that can be found in the bottled paste. The process to extract the paste isn’t complicated but it does take some time and effort. So is it worth it? I only managed to get about 3 measly teaspoons of pandan paste out of a package of pandan leaves. However, I have to say that it is so TOTALLY worth it! The flavor is exactly like if you use freshly-squeezed pandan juice, but using the paste instead of the juice allows you use it in your recipe without having to adjust the liquid content. And the important thing is that whatever you make with it, the item will be naturally flavored and colored…and that is always a good thing! :D (Stay tuned for my next post if you’re interested to see the result of using homemade pandan paste in my Pandan Chiffon Cake recipe and for more info on pandan, read about it in my Whole Grain Pandan Butter Cupcakes post.).

Frozen pandan leaves
Trim off the roots, white and light green parts, as well as the thorny tips
Use only the dark green leaves
Cut the leaves into smaller pieces
Cut the leaves into smaller pieces
Blend with water until finely minced
Blend with water until finely minced
Pour mixture through a sieve and squeeze the finely minced leaves to extract the juice
Filter the juice
Filter the juice
The water will drain away and what's left is the fragrant pandan paste
The water will drain away and what’s left is the fragrant pandan paste

Note: I first read about this process in the Table For 2….. or More blog

1 (7-ounce) package frozen pandan leaves
3 cups water

Defrost pandan leaves (just leave the package on the counter for an hour or so). Then, trim off the roots, white and light green parts, as well as the thorny tips. Rinse the leftover dark green leaves and cut them into small pieces (about 1″). Combine the leaves and 1 cup water in a blender, and blend on high speed until mixture is combined and leaves are finely minced. Pour mixture through a sieve set over a jar or bowl, and squeeze the finely minced leaves to extract the juice. Place the pulp back in the blender and repeat the process with the remaining 2 cups water, one cup at a time. Once you have collected all the juice, line a large sieve with one basket-style coffee filter and set it over a large bowl. Pour the juice into the sieve, cover tightly with a plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the water from the juice has drained away and only a paste-like pandan residue is left. Gently scrape the paste off the filter with a spoon and store it in a covered container in the fridge for about 1 to 2 weeks. Use in place of store-bought paste.

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15 Replies to “Homemade Pandan Paste”

  1. […] ¾ cup first pressing/unsweetened coconut milk 1 teaspoon bottled pandan paste or 1½ teaspoons homemade pandan paste ½ teaspoon cream of […]

  2. Love the vibrant green colour of the blended pandan. Glad that you could find decent frozen pandan leaves at your local Asian store. I found some fresh ones here at a Thai grocery not long ago. I bought a bunch (not frozen). Because it’s quite a lot, I freeze the ones I’m not using and used a few to make nasi lemak, etc

    1. Me too…love the color. Wish I can get decent pandan leaves all the time but sadly, that’s not the case. Would love to grow my own pandan plant…hmmmm

  3. beatrice wong says: Reply

    since the pandan leaves come with roots, why don’t you try to plant them?

    1. Not sure if that will work…..they come frozen. :D

  4. What do you do with all of that “fragrant and vibrant green” water left after the straining process? I’d imagine it would have loads of flavor as well – similar to home-made vanilla extract. Both the residue and liquid have ability to flavor foods. Or am I missing something? I wish I could get a plant as well…

    1. Hello, thank you for dropping by and sorry for this belated reply. You can definitely save and use the leftover liquid for other recipes…check out the various suggestions in Table For 2…..or More blog. Hope this helps. :D

  5. Thanks for sharing, is there a way we can store this for a longer period of time for months if possible. The problem with me is it’s not available here even frozen .

    1. Hello Ksh Singh,

      Thank you for dropping by. :) I am sorry to hear that you can’t find frozen pandan leaves where you live. That was the case for me for the longest time…and even now, the supply here is not entirely consistent. I have to say though that I’m not sure whether the paste can be frozen for an extended period of time because I’ve never done it before. I’ve read that pandan juice can lose its fragrance once it’s frozen and I know for sure that pandan leaves lose their fragrance quickly in their frozen state…so I try to use them as soon as I can. I apologize for not being of much help. I’ll keep in mind to freeze some the next time I make the paste…it’s just that it’s so precious…I couldn’t bear to waste any, lol. If you happened to give it a try before I do, let me know. Thanks!

      Sincerely,
      Chris

  6. […] Notes 001 // I am going to try this extraction method using a coffee filter next time round.   Letting the pandan juice sits a few nights in the fridge works very well for […]

  7. Hi, tried to filter but couldn’t get the paste.. No idea what actually went wrong..

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for stopping by. :) I’m not too sure either what went wrong. Did you use a coffee filter to line the sieve? The pandan juice should drain (very slowly) through the filter. Once all the water goes through, gently scrap the residue left in the filter and that’s your “paste.” Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      Chris

  8. […] Notes 001 // I am going to try this extraction method using a coffee filter next time round.   Letting the pandan juice sits a few nights in the fridge works very well for […]

  9. Reblogged this on recipehog's Blog and commented:
    I need to find some of these and make this so I can make another recipe I’ll hopefully post about soon :)

  10. […] cup first pressing/unsweetened coconut milk 1 teaspoon bottled pandan paste or 1½ teaspoons homemade pandan paste ½ teaspoon cream of […]

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