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Thai Spicy Pandan Leaf Chicken ~ Gai Haw Bai Toey

Monday, January 10, 2011 | Labels: , , , , |

Pandan leaf wrapped-chicken is another favourite Thai dish of mine.  These fragrant and delicious chicken bites make great hors-d'oeuvres and can also be served as a main dish with other dishes.  The pandan leaf or screwpine leaf is an indispensable ingredient in a lot of South East Asian cooking, from sweet desserts to savoury main dishes.  The pandan plant has long and narrow sword-like leaves that impart a sweet, floral and grass-like fragrance when bruised or torn.  Also known as the 'vanilla of the East', it is widely used as a natural food colouring agent.

Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken Recipe

The marinade I used for the chicken today is extremely simple, consisting mainly of some red curry paste, soy sauce and fish sauce.  For the unmistakable Thai flavour, I added some bruised kaffir lime leaves and some smashed lemongrass stalks to the marinade.  The chicken pieces were wrapped in the pandan leaves in a knot-like fashion where you simply make a knot in the middle of the pandan leaf but with the piece of chicken inside.  If you are pressed for time or are not fond of knotting, just simply roll up the chicken in the leaf and secure with a toothpick.  I deep-fried the chicken today but you can roast the pandan-wrapped chicken in the oven as well.  Pandan leaves can be found in most Asian grocery stores in the frozen or refrigerated section, it may be a little difficult to get fresh ones though.  Fresh ones are the best of course but frozen ones are definitely acceptable.

Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken Recipe

Try this at your next party - these enticing chicken bites will definitely prove to be crowd-pleasers!

Note: The pandan leaves are used only to impart flavour and not eaten.

Photo featured on front page of Serious Eats on January 12, 2011

Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken Recipe

Enough pandan leaves to wrap chicken pieces, washed
6 drumsticks/ boneless thighs
Enough oil for deep-frying

Freshly wrapped chicken pieces - for the larger pieces I cheated and simply rolled the pieces up with pandan leaves and then secured with a toothpick!
Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken Recipe

3 shallots, smashed
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed with the back of a heavy knife
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn and bruised lightly
2-3 tsps red curry paste (you can use green as well)
3 tbsps milk
1 tsp fish sauce, or more if desired
1-2 tsps light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken Recipe


Firstly, place all the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow bowl (please remember to do a taste test of the marinade before putting the chicken pieces in and adjust accordingly) and marinade the chicken pieces for at least 3-4 hours or overnight if you have the time.  For overnight marinating, keep the chicken covered in the fridge.

Next, start wrapping the chicken pieces with the pandan leaves either by creating a simple knot in the middle of the leaf and placing the chicken piece into the 'bundle' then securing by tightening the knot or simply roll up the chicken pieces with the leaf and secure with a toothpick.

Deep-fry the wrapped chicken pieces until golden brown.  Drain on some paper towels.  Serve either on their own or with some Thai chilli sauce or any sweet chilli sauce.

Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken Recipe


Koek! said...

Your pics a really too beautiful. Very inspiring!

Three-Cookies said...

Chicken looks so succulent - crispy, moist and spicy. YUM

Lyndsey said...

What a beautiful looking dish. I do have some pandan paste, but I am looking for a screwpine plant so I can go pick my own leaves to use in savory dishes.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Robyn - you're too kind! thanks so much :)

Three-Cookies - thanks!

Lyndsey, thank you! I'm afraid pandan paste won't work as well, you should be able to find pandan leaves in Asian grocery stores..ooh you're planning to have your own plant? I don't have green thumbs so that will be so challenging for me but can't wait to see your very own pandan plant :D

TasteHongKong said...

You version with the kaffir lime leaves sounds more fragrant; no doubt a nice idea for party.

Maya said...

I had this dish at a restaurant a few months ago and the chicken was wrapped only in little strips of pandan. I have been longing to make it and now I have bookmarked your recipe!! Thanks :)

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

THK - I do love kaffir lime leaves :D

Maya - you're welcome! Hope you like my version as well..

tigerfish said...

These are hardly served in Thai restaurants nowadays, I wonder why. Also implying, I have not had them for a long long time.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I don't even eat chicken but I like the way you've presented these with the knotting of the leaves. Very delish looking.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

^ really? where are you at? most of the Thai restaurants even in SD serve them although they vary in taste and quality..

Xiaolu - thank you for your kind words!

Apartment rent chiang mai said...

I'll be sure to check this place out. Thanks.

Apartment rent chiang mai said...

I'll be sure to check this place out. Thanks.

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