For generations, many of us here in Malaysia have used pandan (screwpine) leaves in our daily lives
It's a type of plant that we could easily grow in our backyard and we often use it as an ingredient to add flavour and sometimes colour to both savoury and sweet dishes, and even drinks.
Locally, pandan is used in preparing staple food such as nasi lemak to desserts such as onde-onde.
These green leaves offer more than just natural aromatic smell as there are many health benefits including healing sunburn and relieving pain. They are even used to repel insects and as natural deodoriser in cars.
The popularity of pandan leaves is expected to shoot up in the UK in coming days, especially since popular celebrity chef Nigella Lawson made a mention of it recently
While pandan is a common ingredient used by many Asian households, particularly in the Southeast Asia region, that's not the case in the West.
However, things are about to change as Lawson has pointed out that the herbaceous tropical plant has already started to gain popularity in the US, the same trend is expected to be seen at the UK.
"I think it's going to be the new matcha," she was quoted as saying British daily The Times.
“I may be wrong, but we seem to be interested in that. It’s not in Waitrose (a popular chain of British supermarkets). I don’t know where it is in the country yet. But I notice more and more people in America baking with pandan essence, which comes from the leaf.”
Major publications in UK such as The Guardian and The Independent are paying attention to what Lawson has to say, as she is known for calling the next big thing in food
Back in 2006, she championed goose fat as the essential Christmas cooking ingredient and it triggered a soar in the sales of goose fat that year.
It was also noted that Lawson taught viewers on her television show, Simply Nigella, how to make avocado on toast in 2015. Her simple recipe then inspired a food trend that saw sales of the fruit shot up by 30%.
"Given that sales of avocado once rose by 30% after she was featured on TV smashing one on toast, this endorsement could see foodies everywhere making a mad dash for the plant (pandan)," read the article by The Independent.
According to the Guardian, the leaves are not yet available at major UK supermarkets but they can be purchased online. It was said that a bunch of fresh pandan leaves (200g) will cost about GBP7 (about RM39), including postage.
Do you agree that pandan leaves will be the next big food trend in the UK? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.