CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 2…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Aromatic Leaves…Part 2.

Why am I looking at aromatic leaves?… As you know I am a foodie and I am always looking at recipes…many recipes especially Asian ones make use of aromatic leaves which are different from soft-leafed herbs like coriander and mint etc…

Last week I looked at Bay leaves(laurel), Indian Bay Leaves, Curry Leaves and Lime Leaves… as I stated in my post I was not aware of the differences in bay leaves I have always up until now cooked with the laurel bay leaf…The Indian bay leaf is noticeably different in appearance and taste…I have now used it in my garam masala powder and there is a definite flavour difference the dish tasted more authentic Indian…

TODAY I am looking at four other aromatic leaves starting with the Pandan Leaf…

Pandan Leaf…

Pandan is incredibly versatile and popular in South and South East Asia. Its leaf extract is often mixed with steamed rice and coconut milk to make a savoury Malaysian dish called nasi lemak. It’s also used to flavour soups, stews, curries, ice cream, cakes, and drinks whole leaves are also used to wrap meats before steaming or grilling, infusing them with their unique taste…

Pandan leaves have a naturally sweet taste and soft aroma. Its flavour is strong, described as grassy with hints of rose, almond, and vanilla, with a hint of coconut.

In Sri Lanka, pandan leaves are used in curries.

Pandan chicken is a very popular dish in Thailand the leaves are used to wrap pieces of marinated chicken before deep frying it…the leaves are sold everywhere and are very cheap to buy…

You can use the leaves whole and boiled in liquid for the flavour, like a sweet soup, syrup or coconut milk. But don’t eat the leaves on their own as they are tasteless, stringy and quite unpleasant. Alternatively, the leaves can be ground down to a paste and the juice extracted to leave an intense green juice that is not advisable to drink…Don’t even try to drink this. It doesn’t taste of very much and is quite awful but the dark green colour and aroma can be used to colour dough or pastry…now this is very nice…

One of the most popular cakes made with pandan is the pandan chiffon cake. It’s very common in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and is very, very nice…It is also lovely in pancakes like Kuih Dadar which are pandan-flavoured pancakes filled with a coconut and palm sugar mixture…

I have heard that Pandan Essence is being used in baking in the US and in London pandan is being used in creme brulees, ice cream and rice puddings…and my favourite chef…Nigella sings the praises of the pandan leaf…Quite the popular aromatic leaf it seems…However unfortunately there is no substitute for the pandan leaves’ flavour; the closest thing would be vanilla, although the flavours are quite different…

Turmeric Leaf…

Turmeric grows profusely in my little garden I use it in curries and in drinks…the turmeric leaf I use for one of our favourite curries…Beef Rendang... and why I will never give up meat completely maybe 80% but beef rendang is such a delicious, flavoursome curry that I make very rarely but it’s worth the time it takes to prepare and cook…Turmeric leaves are also used to cook fish, and prawn food wrapped and cooked in a turmeric leaf has such a wonderful flavour…

Betel Leaf…

The Betel is native to Southeast Asia. It is an evergreen, dioecious perennial, with glossy heart-shaped leaves…Betel leaf or paan as it is also known has an important place in Indian culture and is considered auspicious in religious ceremonies, marriages and poojas. The heart-shaped leaf finds mention even in Skanda Purana which goes back to the sixth century.

The betel leaf is also used in stir fries and like the pandan leaf used to flavour ice cream and for shots often for its psychoactive effects…

My favourite way to eat betel leaves is Miang Kham…although I have made it at home some markets sell all the little bits ready chopped in bags with the sauce all done fresh while you wait or made at home and brought to the markets lovely and fresh…a beautiful tasty snack…

it’s just so healthy with fresh ginger, garlic, shallots, peanuts, chilli, lime wedges, dried shrimp
with a good drizzle of the lovely tamarind sauce then wrapped in a betel leaf…definitely a
favourite the flavours and textures in this one bite are awesome…
It seems it can grow and is grown in subtropical and tropical areas of the US and can be
cultivated in the UK…If you get the opportunity to try this flavoursome snack then do it is

Lemon Grass…

Lemongrass is a beautiful aromatic leaf…Lemongrass, also called citronella, is a tall, stalky plant. It has a fresh, lemony aroma and a citrus flavour. It’s a common ingredient in Thai cooking and a bug repellent…it is also an essential oil and one which I make myself and use when I make my fabric conditioner…but today we are talking culinary uses…it is popular and makes a delicious tea…it is an ingredient in many Thai curry pastes, salads and in the popular Tom Yum soup...Native to Sri Lanka and South India it is now grown and cultivated in many countries around the world.

To make the tea at home…

  • cut the stalks of 1-2 pieces of lemongrass into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • boil a cup of water..I use a small glass teapot…
  • pour the boiling water over the lemongrass stalks to steep
  • leave the stalks in the water for at least 5 minutes
  • strain the liquid from the stalks and pour it into a teacup…adding ice cubes will create a cold lemongrass tea.

It is a lovely grass which can be made into a cup or a nice jugful from soups and curries to stir-fries and desserts, it adds a fresh taste to anything…as I have a glut of lemongrass I use it as skewers and wrap my chicken meat mix around the stems of the lemongrass it imparts such a wonderful lemon flavour…it pairs with so much chicken, and fish and add to fried rice…its uses are endless it really is a versatile grass…

For my vegan readers, I came across this video and I think even I might like this…The fresh lemongrass, chilli, and garlic combination makes my mouth water…

Thank you for joining me today …I hope you have enjoyed learning about these aromatic leaves and if you have a favourite dish you make with one of these leaves then please share…as always I look forward to your comments…I hope to see you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets…x

20 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 2…

  1. Pingback: Carol Taylors Green Kitchen…September 2022… | Retired? No one told me!

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I know I am, Sally although many like the pandan leaves are beginning to be available in many countries now…Yes, the betel nut…Lily nan uses the betel nut which is why her mouth is stained bright red it is also illegal but you wouldn’t know that I think it will die out as the youngsters don’t use it …it is the older generation like Lilys nan who do use it …Here is the link of an earlier post about the habit if you want to read it xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        They most certainly are as it’s not a good look(just as well) and it’s very addictive but the older ones you wouldn’t stop now…xx


  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 28th August -3rd September 2022-Monday Musings, Aubergine and Potato Curry, Health, Morbid Obesity,,Aromatic Leaves…and Saturday Snippets where “Light” is my one word prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Jim Borden

    that lemongrass tofu looks delicious; I don’t think I ever made the connection between lemongrass and citronella. When I hear citronella, I just think of bug repellent. Perhaps they changed the name to make it sound more appealing


  4. Sue Dreamwalker

    Love Lemon Grass, my daughter also uses it to make a good insect skin repellent spray and used when abroad.. Her friends took to using it too as the Jungle juice didn’t seem to stop the insects.. Loved the recipes..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Lemongrass is such a versatile leaf with many uses I agree its a great insect repellant …Happy you loved the recipes, Sue,,,Thank you 🙂 xx


  5. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 2… – MobsterTiger

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I can’t reply now on Saturday Snippets as I have rescheduled it…Sorry for muddling you xx….It will be lovely to try something new Pete…xx


    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      It won’t let me reply as I have rescheduled it for Saturday..Yes its Friday albeit late 19.32…I took a flyer yesterday and am sitting with an ice pack on my leg…With all that I forgot to finish Saturdays post…That teach me I/m normally quite good I do a rough draft and schedule them in and then work through them..,It would have helped if I had got the date correct I have checked forward now and they are all correct it was just that one xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Clive

        Ouch! I hope you’re alright. With a posting schedule like yours I don’t think I could keep up, so I can see where you’re coming from on this. Take care xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. CarolCooks2 Post author

        Haha..I live and will probably die in my flips I have every colour under the rainbow…I have thought about buying walking shoes but its so hot and flip flops are comfy to walk in I find…Just not yesterday..I blame the pavements they are not the best…xx

        Liked by 1 person

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