The Nonya cooking ingredient Duan Pandan or Screwpine Leaves is a tropical
plant which is known commonly as Duan Pandan or Screwpine Leaves and used widely
in South Asian cooking. It is an erect green plant with fan-shaped sprays of
long, narrow, bladelike leaves and woody aerial roots.
Duan Pandan or Screwpine Leaves is rare in the wild but cultivated widely for use as a flavoring in cooking. The leaves are used fresh or wilted. They have a nutty, botanical fragrance which enhances the flavor of Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian foods, especially rice dishes. Duan Pandan or Screwpine Leaves are sometimes steeped in coconut milk, which is then added to the dish. They may be tied in a bunch and cooked with the food. They also may be woven into a basket which is used as a pot for cooking rice. Pandan chicken, or gai ob bai toey, is a Thai dish with chicken wrapped in pandan leaves and fried. The leaves are also used as a flavoring for desserts such as pandan cake and sweet beverages.