Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pandan …. The superflavour


These sugarcane leaf like leaves of which Fresh is preferred but frozen is plenty in supermarkets has quite a story to reveal.
Pandan leaves have many uses , of which the most preferred  ones  include steaming it with fish and meats in it and flavouring rice preparations with knots of these leaves .
In my recent trip to lucknow I met with a unani hakim who introduced me to the leaf of the kewra tree and told me that it goes well in biryanis and rice preparations when steeped in the Yakhni or the broth . I smelt the leaf and my food memory trasnported me to Singapore where I had a Pandan cake10 years ago.
Lo and Behold ….. Pandan wasn’t alien anymore, it was a just the leaf of our kewra plant , a relationship was immediately established. Its scientifically proven  that the flavour giving compound of basmati and pandan are actually the same .. surprised ? so was I when I found out . But there’s more to the story . Pandan is grown all across south east asia and many other parts of the world, yet nobody else but us Indians thought of using the flowers for Ittar that can be used in food all the way from Delhi to Hyderabad through Lucknow . Another trivia to keep it interesting and keep you connected to pandan: pandan flowers and leaves were thrown in wells to mildly perfume the drinking water.In the mango belt , whole sacs of mangoes used to be dipped in these wells to infuse them with this perfume to impress the Taluqdars and Nawabs. The use of science of infusion at its best …right?
So next time just take the leaf of the shelf and boil it with your rice it will be a great introduction to a wonderful ingredient .To make the deal more interesting-  Pandan solves skin problems , arthritis issues and strengthens gums .Now ready to try the recipe?









Pandan steamed fish with a red thai sauce
Pandan leaves                                           5 nos
Fish fillet cut into 100 gms cubes               01 medium
Finely Grated coconut toasted                   50 gms
Red Thai curry paste                                 2 tbsp
Coconut Milk                                            1 cup
Lime leaf and coriander leaf chopped         ½ cup
Tomatoes quartered                                   1 nos
Lemon juice                                               ½ cup
Jaggery                                                      1tsp
Method
For the fish, marinate with salt-pepper, lemon juice ,1/2  chopped herbs and toasted coconut .
Wrap in Pandan leaf and steam till cooked
For the curry sauce , dry broil the curry paste and add the remaining ingredients along with water .
Cook on slow and remove the tomatoes after 3-4 minutes
Serve the tomatoes as an accompaniment and the sauce on the side


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