350 g skinless chicken thigh (cut into bite size)
16 pandan leaves
4 pcs coriander root
2 cloves garlic
1½ tbsp coconut milk (Coconut milk and be substituted with coconut cream)
¼ tsp white peppercorns
1 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tbsp + 1 tsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
70 g palm sugar (You can use regular sugar instead of palm sugar)
1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (Sriracha hot sauce can be substituted with chilli sauce)
½ tsp white sesame seeds
Infused with the sweetness and fragrance of pandan leaves, the Thai Pandan Chicken is a great appetizer or finger food for your party (or a quiet night in). A speciality dish hailing from, as its name suggests, Thailand, the pandan chicken recipe has become widely popular around Asia, including Singapore.
Uniquely Thai, this pandan chicken dish follows a traditional recipe for marination but it is never complete with the iconic pandan leaves, a key element in this dish.
The marinated boneless chicken pieces are wrapped in pandan leaves and fried together. This process allows the meat to absorb the signature floral-like aroma from the pandan leaf, adding a distinct flavor to the chicken. It also offers a unique presentation to the way fried chicken is served, one that tells stories of Thai culinary cooking. Pandan leaves are incorporated in a variety of dishes in various ways across the cuisine. They are used to flavor rice, prepare drinks and whip up desserts, such as the Thai Pandan Sweetmeat.
Wrapping the pandan leaves around the chicken is an art itself, which makes the whole process of cooking this dish extremely therapeutic! You may check out our video above on how you can wrap each pandan leaf around a piece of chicken.
Pandan leaves offer notable benefits too! They are known to help lower blood sugar levels and enhance the liver’s detoxifying function, while also relieving headaches and ear pain.
Taking a delicious bite into the tender and juicy pandan chicken will surely make you crave for more. You do not have to head out or order this delicacy when you can make it by yourself by following our simple recipe. All you need to get in business is some pandan leaves, chicken pieces and a variety of ingredients that can be found in any grocery store!
Pandan leaves are not meant to be eaten as they are tasteless and often unpleasant to the palate. Their flavors are enjoyed when boiled in liquids, like water or coconut milk. In the pandan chicken recipe, the pandan leaves are wrapped around the marinated chicken and fried to extract the flavours from the leaves themselves. In this case, you can unwrap the pandan leaf to eat the chicken and set the leaves aside.
You will need to fold two sides of the pandan leaf together to form a small pocket where you can fit a piece of chicken, and then loop in the ends of the leaf into the pocket. We show you how it is done in our video!
If you prefer a healthier alternative to our pandan chicken recipe, you may bake the pandan-wrapped chicken instead. You can also consider grilling them too!
Marinate chicken the night before: By marinating a night before, you save preparation time the following day. It also lets the chicken absorb more flavors from the marination, which helps to enhance the taste. You can keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator.
Add pandan extract to marination: To further enhance the pandan flavors in the dish, you can add in some pandan extract when marinating the chicken. You can blend some pandan leaves with water to form a concentrated paste to extract the juice which you can use as the extract.
Steam the chicken before deep frying: By steaming the chicken, the meat remains moist with a rich pandan aroma even after frying.
Always choose fresh pandan leaves: It is important that the pandan leaves you purchase are fresh. Fresh ones are typically bright green as they are well-hydrated and give off a strong aroma.
With a pestle and mortar, pound and grind coriander roots, garlic, white peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and 1½ tablespoon of coconut cream until well combined.
In a bowl, mix chicken pieces with marinade until evenly coated. Let it marinate for 30 min.
In a small pot on high heat, mix palm sugar, 1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sriracha hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of tamarind juice until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens.
Set aside to cool and transfer to the sauce dish.
Twist the middle part of the pandan leaf (with both ends sticking outwards) to prepare a pocket where you can put a piece of marinated chicken.
In a pan or pot on medium-high heat, heat up enough oil for deep frying. When the oil is hot enough, about 180 degrees Celsius, deep-fry wrapped chicken for 3 to 4 minutes until the chicken is golden brown.
Place Thai Pandan Chicken on a serving plate.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on the dipping sauce.
Serve hot with dipping sauce on the side.