Reading Ruy's blog got me drooling for chicken wrapped in pandan. This is a very popular appetizer which I had countless of times in Thai restaurants but have never cooked it because it seems tedious to prepare. It takes time to wrap the chicken pieces and I am not a deep-fry enthusiast but the finished dish is rewarding in its yumminess. Unbelievably, my 2 Thai cookbooks both don't have a recipe for this dish and searching on the web is frustrating because there are several versions of it. I used the ingredients that I like from 2 recipes and made my own marinade. It is so finger lickin' (and pandan-licking) good and does not need any dipping sauce. All you need is plenty of steamed rice.
Chicken Wrapped In Pandan
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro with roots
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1½ tablespoons fish extract
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon palm or regular sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
pandan leaves, thawed and well cleaned
peanut or grapeseed oil
- Mix all ingredients except pandan and oil. Marinate for 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator. Form pandan into little pockets and fill with 1 tablespoon of the marinated chicken, or simply wrap a few pieces of chicken with pandan. Fry in medium hot oil until pandan has turned brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain well and serve immediately.
finger and pandan-licking good
Pandan is used extensively in Asia: Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and I think, India. They all use pandan to flavor sweets and savory dishes. In the Philippines it is used to flavor rice cakes, chiffon cakes, ice cream, gelatin, hopia, polvoron, barquillos, and any sweets you can think of. My mother used to add a leaf in boiling rice for its fragrance and flavor. It also makes the house smell good that you want to dig in as soon as you get inside.