PETALING JAYA: It is the main ingredient that gives nasi lemak its distinctive aroma, and now it is set to overtake avocados as the next global food trend.
Pandan leaves, which are found in the backyards of many Malaysian homes, are already gaining attention among restaurants and households in the United States, according to popular celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.
The chef said it is only a matter of time before pandan leaves begin to invade kitchens in Britain.
"I think it's going to be the new matcha. I may be wrong, but we seem to be interested in that," she said.
"It's not in Waitrose. I don't know where it is in this country yet. But, I notice more and more people in America baking with Pandan essence, which comes from that leaf," she was quoted as saying by British daily The Times.
Pandan leaves, also fondly known as screwpine by the West, have a sweet fragrance that is likened to vanilla.
Its extracted juices are the natural food colouring that is commonly used in popular Malaysian desserts such as kuih bakar, kuih seri muka, onde-onde, and kuih tayap.
Malaysians also commonly use pandan leaves as natural air fresheners in cars.
According to The Independent, Lawson is popularly known as a trendsetter when she caused the sale of avocados to spike by 30 per cent after she featured them on TV.
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