PS: There’s even an oven-bake alternative for those who want to cut calories.
- 500 g chicken thigh meat or breast meat
- 10 pandan or screw pine leaves, to wrap chicken pieces (wide leaves are easier)
- 2 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying
Pandan Juice Marinade
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 6 pandan leaves, to make fresh pandan extract
Over a low/medium fire, toast sesame seeds in a wok or pan without oil for a few mins, until they become light brown. Stir them all the time so they do not burn. Set aside.
Put remaining ingredients into wok or pan. Cook gently over low fire, stirring all the while, for around 5 mins until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside to cool while you make chicken.
Start by making fresh pandan extract. Wash pandan leaves and cut into 2 cm strips. Blend with 3 tbsp water. Drain the juice through a sieve.
Cut chicken into 4cm chunks. You can use a Chinese chopper to cut thigh meat into chucks, bones, etc. It will taste richer than the breast meat (but watch for bones when you eat it!).
In a large bowl, mix pandan juice and dry marinade ingredients. Marinate chicken for at least 1 hr, or overnight in the fridge for better flavour.
Wash and wipe dry pandan leaves for wrapping. With shiny side of the leaf outside, wrap each piece of chicken with 1 pandan leaf. Secure with a toothpick. It helps to use tongs to get the chicken out of the marinade and wipe the outside of the leaf with a paper towel when it gets sticky.
To deep fry chicken, add vegetable oil to a saucepan or wok. You need enough oil so chicken parcels are at least half way covered.
When oil is hot (but not smoking), add wrapped chicken in batches of 2 to 3 pieces. Check if oil is hot enough by dipping a dry chopstick into the oil – if chopstick sizzles, oil is ready.
Fry chicken in batches of 2 to 3 pieces, turning often so all sides are cooked and golden brown. Each batch takes about 10 mins. Remove and drain on paper towels.
To oven bake chicken, preheat oven to 200 C.
Brush wrapped chicken with vegetable oil and place in oven proof dish. Bake for 15 mins, turning the pieces over at least once to brown both sides.
After 10 mins, increase oven temperature to 250 C. Bake for another 5 to 10 mins, to bake chicken crispy.
Pour dipping sauce into a small bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve chicken with dipping sauce and rice. Sliced cucumber and hard boiled eggs are traditional touches we love!
TIP You can prepare this dish ahead of time. Wrap chicken pieces in pandan leaves, leave in the refrigerator, then bake or fry as normal.
TIP To see how to wrap pandan chicken without a toothpick, see this step by step video.
TIP To make fresh pandan juice, watch this step by step video.