Lemongrass and Pandan Lemonade, Hold The Ice

by Spicie Foodie on March 2, 2012

lemongrass; lemon grass; lemon; lemonade; Pandan; Pandan leaves; tea; cold weather lemonade; recipe; receta; honey; sweet; drink; iced; summer; winter; healthy; low-fat; low sugar; Spicie Foodie

Late last summer my dear friend Maya, of Foodiva’s Kitchen, sent me a wonderful gift. I received a package of fresh pandan leaves, all the way from Brunie. Some of you may remember that Maya guest posted for me sharing her delicious recipe for Pandan-Wrapped Chicken. She sent me the pandan leaves so I could taste that scrumptious recipe, and it tasted amazing. I also made Pandan Coconut Rice, and that too tasted fantastic. With the remaining leaves I wanted to experiment a little. I’ve kept them gently wrapped in my freezer all these months until the inspiration struck.

lemongrass; lemon grass; lemon; lemonade; Pandan; Pandan leaves; tea; cold weather lemonade; recipe; receta; honey; sweet; drink; iced; summer; winter; healthy; low-fat; low sugar; Spicie Foodie

Let’s refresh our memories as to what pandan leaves are, pandan also know as screwpine is a tropical plant widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine. pandan leaves are long, green and have a fragrant smell that is hard for me to put my finger on. It is a bit nutty, woody but somewhat sweet, really the smell is just incredible and unique.  These aromatic leaves are used to flavor both savory and sweet foods. They can be used as a food colorant, and as you can see from this recipe they are also used to make drinks. Sometimes they are referred to the vanilla of the East because they impart a vanilla like taste, though I didn’t think it had a vanilla flavor.

Lemongrass is a plant also common to Asian cuisine. It has a, you guessed it, lemon scent and flavor. Most commonly it is used to flavor curries, soups and drinks. Most of you would recognize lemongrass as a think stalk that is quite firm, pale at the bottom and greener as it extends. If you’ve ever had Thai Tom Yum soup you’ll find the thin woody slices in the soup. For this recipe I’ve used dried lemongrass as that is all I could find. I purchased mine in a spice shop but you could also look in Asian stores or tea shops.

dried; lemongrass; lemon grass; tea; drink; herbal; recipe; zacate de limon; receta; asian; uses; Spicie Foodie

Since I had previously made a meal and side dish using the Pandan leaves, a drink was my next choice. I love lemonade on a steamy summer day but on a grey frigid winter’s night lemonade is not my first drink choice. So to have my lemonade craving satisfied I chilled the lemonade then only added a few ice cubes. That way I wouldn’t be shivering during dinner. Below is the recipe.

lemongrass; lemon grass; lemon; lemonade; Pandan; Pandan leaves; tea; cold weather lemonade; recipe; receta; honey; sweet; drink; iced; summer; winter; healthy; low-fat; low sugar; Spicie Foodie

(If you would like to publish my recipe on your website please quote Spicie Foodie as the recipe creator, and place a link back to the recipe.)
Lemongrass and Pandan Lemonade, Hold The Ice
2 pandan leaves (screwpine leaves), fresh or defrosted
1/2 cup dried lemongrass, if dried is not available substitute with 1 fresh stalk
5 cups water
2 large lemons juiced
honey, to taste

Panda leaves can be found either fresh or frozen at many Asian stores. Dried lemongrass can also be found there, or look for it in tea or spice shops.

1. Tie the pandan leaves into knots, place inside a large pot with the dried lemongrass and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and strain.

2. Place the strained liquid back in pot or large pitcher, pour in the lemon juice and desired honey. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then place inside refrigerator until ready to serve.

Since it is still winter here I only added a few ice cubes to the already cold lemonade. If you prefer a cooler drink, place ice cubes in cups before serving.

lemongrass; lemon grass; lemon; lemonade; Pandan; Pandan leaves; tea; cold weather lemonade; recipe; receta; honey; sweet; drink; iced; summer; winter; healthy; low-fat; low sugar; Spicie Foodie

The combination of pandan leaves, lemongrass and lemon was perfect. To add just a little sweetness without overpowering the flavors and scents of the pandan and lemongrass I used honey. The result was a well balanced sweet, aromatic, citrusy drink. My hubby who isn’t the biggest lemonade drinker also agreed that this unique drink tasted delicious and that the flavors and smells complimented each other well. Of course everyone’s taste is different so adjust ingredient amounts to your taste.

lemongrass; lemon grass; lemon; lemonade; Pandan; Pandan leaves; tea; cold weather lemonade; recipe; receta; honey; sweet; drink; iced; summer; winter; healthy; low-fat; low sugar; Spicie Foodie

Cheers and have a great weekend everyone! See you Sunday for another edition of Sunday Snapshots.


Check out these pandan recipes:
- Pandan and Honey Melon Ice Cream by Foodiva’s Kitchen
- The Cobbler Cocktail: Vodka with Grapes Macerated in Monastery Herbal Liqueur & Pandan Simple Syrup by Tasty Trix
- Lemon Grass and Pandan Leave Ice-Tea by Tes At Home
- Lechon Manok (Filipino Roast Chicken) by Adora
- Baked Pandan Cake (Kuih Bakar Pandan) by Sugar & Everything Nice
- Jasmine and Pandan Macarons by Alana Bread
- Pandan Smoothie by Anncoo Journal

in American,Asian,Drinks,Vegan/Vegetarian

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa March 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM

What an interesting flavor combination! Wonderful.




2 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Thank you Rosa!


3 Ramona March 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM

I love both lemongrass and pandan leaves… but never thought to use them in a drink!! Wow.. very creative! Have a great weekend~ Ramona


4 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Hi Ramona,

The combination is a common one, you can Google it. But the taste is really fantastic. Thanks and you too have a great weekend!


5 hestiHH March 2, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Always love your pictures…
I can imagine how the fragrant smell like. That’s a unique combination flavor and I have the ingredients abundant here, thanks for sharing ^,^


6 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 9:48 AM


Thank you! You should really try it. I mean you already have the ingredients right ;)


7 claudia @whats cookin italian cuisine March 2, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Great photo! Pinned! :)


8 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Thanks Claudia!


9 Liz March 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Oh, how beautiful and refreshing. A lovely twist on ordinary lemonade…you’ve kicked it up fabulously!!! Have a wonderful weekend~


10 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Hi Liz,

It really is refreshing and a great alternative to ordinary lemonade. Thanks you too have a great weekend!


11 Tina@flourtrader March 2, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Ha-you have answered the burning question I have had in my mind concerning lemon grass. I wondered if it could ever be used in something sweet instead of savory and now I have the answer. I am sure that this beverage has some amazing flavor-very creative of you to come up with this blend. Happy Friday!


12 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Hi Tina,

Haha, now you know :) The lemongrass and pandan combination is a common one but I think the lemon juice and honey are unique to the mix. Thanks and happy Friday to you too!


13 Natalie March 2, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Your photography always inspires me to take more pictures! Beautiful!


14 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Hi Natalie,

Thank you:)


15 Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything} March 2, 2012 at 10:18 AM

i have never tried pandan leaves although I read/heard a lot about them! I’m dreaming of summer now!
The photos are stunning as usual Nancy!


16 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Hi Roxana,

You should give them a try. Since you love baking you could also make great baked goodies with them. Me too, can’t wait for summer. Thanks!


17 Lora March 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Wow I just love this. Exotic but with the homey feeling of lemonade.


18 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Hi Lora,

Exactly! Thank you.


19 Rhonda March 2, 2012 at 10:56 AM

I would love to try pandan leaves. Using it in lemonade sounds wonderful!


20 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM

You should Rhonda, they can be used in savory or sweet dishes.


21 Rochelle (@AcquiredLife) March 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Beautiful photos! I am hoping to see if I can get some lemon grass growing for the summer. I’ll be keeping this in mind :D


22 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Thanks Rochelle and good luck with the lemongrass.


23 LinsFood March 2, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I do love Pandan leaves and yes, they are used very widely in South East Asian dishes, sweet or savoury. I’ve tried growing them unsuccessfully a number of times here in the UK. Have now given up and just get them online. BTW, the pandan coconut rice is called Nasi Lemak in Malay and is usually eaten with a spicy sambal, amongst other things. Love your lemonade, very refreshing, definitely one to try in the summer!


24 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Hi Lin,

Too bad the Pandan didn’t grow for you,but great that you can get it online. Thanks for the info on the rice.


25 Liren March 2, 2012 at 1:02 PM

What a brilliant way to use pandan – I have never seen it done before. Beautiful photos, too. I just love the lighting, it’s like stained glass.


26 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Hi Liren,

You should try it, it was really good. Thank you :)


27 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts March 2, 2012 at 1:08 PM

How creative. Gorgeous lemonade!


28 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Thank you Erin!


29 Nami | Just One Cookbook March 2, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Oh, I really like her…Maya is such a wonderful and sincere person. So nice of her to send you pandan leaves! It’s not easy to get, unless you know where to look for, even where I live. This sounds like really delicious lemonade – I haven’t yet tried pandan leaves but I visit so many Asian blogs and they all use them. I might have tried the flavor while I was in SE Asia before, but didn’t recognize it back then. I need to continue searching pandan leaves!


30 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Hi Nami,

Yes, she, Maya, really is. It was very sweet of her to send the gift and introduce me to a new ingredient. I hope you find them so you can try it.


31 Ambika March 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Such gorgeous photos Nancy, love your background!!! And the drink is so interesting and unique..


32 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Hi Ambika,
Thank you:)!


33 Sommer J March 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM

this looks like a fun recipe and of course creative. I love twists on classics, and this looks like a refreshing different one. Now to find those leaves…


34 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Hey Sommer,

Thank you! I hope you can find them. I’ve looked in some Asian stores here, Vietnamese and Japanese but they didn’t have them. Maybe you’ll have better luck then I .


35 Ridwan March 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

WoW,,,,I use pandan so often but on lemonade that was unique drink,well done,thanks for sharing !!


36 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Hi Ridwan,

Thank you :)!


37 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com March 2, 2012 at 6:43 PM

That looks so refreshing and delicious! What a coincidence?! I made a recipe with pandan leaves today as well :)

I grew up enjoying meals made with infusing pandan leaves and it truly lends an aroma and taste that is indescribable :D


38 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Hi Kiran,

Really? I’ll have to stop by and check it out. How lucky for you, pandan is an ingredient I wish was readily available. Thanks!


39 Flavors of the Sun March 2, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Mexicans drink a lot of lemongrass tea and it is readily available here, but as for pandan leaves…no chance, but your beautiful article makes me wish I could find it.


40 Spicie Foodie March 2, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Too bad about the pandan leaves. Maybe you can buy them online.


41 Vicki Bensinger March 2, 2012 at 8:59 PM

I love lemonade but this sounds even better. I wish I could smell the incredible aroma that this leaf gives off – I can’t even shine it. Maybe someday we will have aroma Internet along with smellavision! I’d love to try this recipe but not sure I’d be able to locate this leaf.


42 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Hi Vicki,

Aroma internet would be awesome! Good luck and I hope you can find pandan soon.


43 Marsha @ The Harried Cook March 3, 2012 at 12:06 AM

This sounds delicious! I love the flavors of pandan and lemongrass and it totally makes sense to put them in a lemonade… Delicious, Nancy! And beautiful pics :)


44 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Hi Marsha,

Thank you and glad you also love the combination :)


45 Jen Laceda March 3, 2012 at 1:49 AM

this is such a great idea! i’m in the process of giving up “processed” iced tea. this would be a good substitute. what is the asian name of pandan leaves, do you know?


46 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Hi Jean,

This drink is on many levels above processed tea. Pandan names are, screw pine leaf = screwpine leaf = bai toey =bai touy = pandanus leaf = daun pandan = pandan leaf = kewra = rampe leaf . I got the info from Foodsubs.com


47 anna March 3, 2012 at 2:11 AM

this sounds wonderful! i’ve never (to my knowledge) tasted pandan, but i love fancy lemonades, and adding something woodsy and vanilla-ish seems really lovely. i want to try it!


48 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Hi Anna,

Hopefully you can get your hands on some pandan leaves so you can give it a try.


49 Brooke (Crackers on the Couch) March 3, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I keep seeing that top picture on all the “food porn” sites and I just absolutely love it. So striking! Nicely done! (Oh! And the lemonade sounds wonderful, too! Haha!) :)


50 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Hi Brooke,

Really? That’s cool! Thank you.


51 Patty March 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I love the look of your Lemongrass and Pandan Lemonade! I would love to try this with Meyer lemons, will have to make a trip to the Asian market to see if I can pick up the Pandan leaves, I’ve seen Lemongrass many times. Enjoy your weekend Nancy;-)


52 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Hi Patty,

I think it would be lovely with Meyer lemons, yum. Thanks and I hope you find them. Have a great weekend!


53 Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) March 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I love the mood you created in these shots–the light and the colors (love the green backdrop) had me thinking your refreshing drink was being served in a charming little tea shop in Asia. :)


54 Spicie Foodie March 3, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Hi Jean,

Thank you so much :)


55 Magic of Spice March 8, 2012 at 3:08 PM

What an inspired and creative combination! I can readily get lemongrass but will have to search out the pandan…really sounds lovely :)


56 Spicie Foodie March 9, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Thanks Alsha! You should try it, I know you’d make something amazing with it.


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