Chicken Wrapped in Pandan Leaf
Chicken wrapped in Pandan Leaf is a popular restaurant-style dish in Bangkok. The leaf keeps the juices of the chicken inside, so you get very soft & juicy fried chicken. This is an excellent dish to make for a party. I’ve given a large recipe here for that purpose. This recipe makes about 30 leaf-packets.
- 500 grams (about 1lb) chicken thigh, free-range is best
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped coriander roots
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or white sugar)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons golden mountain brand soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chinese cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon milk (from a cow)
- 30 pandan leaves, cleaned well
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons black soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon white soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- a small slice (about 1/2 teaspoon) ginger
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Cut the chicken into 2″ chunks, leaving the skin on.
- Smash the garlic, peppercorns & cilantro/coriander roots together in a stone mortar & pestle to make a paste.
- Transfer to a bowl. Add soy sauces, palm sugar, cooking wine, sesame oil and milk. Mix well.
- Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and marinate for an hour or more in the refrigerator.
- Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan on medium-low heat until browned and set aside (optional).
- In a saucepan, simmer the sauce ingredients on medium-low heat until thicker, about 5 minutes.
- When the chicken is finished marinating, create little ‘pandan-leaf’ packets as shown in the slideshow. Add one piece of chicken per leaf packet.
- Fry the leaf packet on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes per side, until brown.
- Top the sauce with the sesame seeds and serve. (Unwrap & discard leaf before eating).
Pandan leaves ('bai dteuy' in Thai) are available frozen in many Asian groceries. Thaw them and clean well before using. Do not rinse in hot water as you will lose a lot of flavor. (Frozen leaves are already less-flavorful, so you want to keep all you can get!)
Pandan essence is also available in little bottles at many Asian groceries. If your frozen pandan leaves have no fragrant smell or flavor, try adding a few drops to your marinade. The flavor of pandan should be noticeable in the finished chicken. If you use fresh leaves, you won't have this problem.
There are many different ways of folding these packets. The way shown leaves a bit of chicken exposed, so that you get a bit of crispiness. You're welcome to experiment! Do make sure you fold them tight, otherwise the juices will leak and the chicken will be dry (and your oil will pop.)
This is a more difficult (time consuming) dish. Most Thais don't make this at home â€” it's more of a special dish which is ordered at nicer restaurants.
Cow's milk is used in the marinade to tenderize the meat. It can be left out.
You do not eat the pandan leaf. Make sure to tell your guests to take it off before eating the chicken.