DeSocio In The Kitchen :: Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken

Thailand is a beautiful country full of delicious flavors and rich food traditions. We explored these easy and tasty chicken bites you can find in most street markets throughout the country.

Ingredients – yields about 10-15 bite size pieces

2 boneless chicken thighs cut into 1” bite size pieces
10 Pandan leaves – if frozen, place in refrigerator over night the day before use
1 Garlic Clove
10 Black Peppercorns
1 lemongrass cut into pieces
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
2 teaspoon Oyster Sauce
2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon White Sesame Seeds
1 coriander root (if you can’t find it, it’s fine to leave it out)
3 or 4 Cups vegetable or canola oil for deep frying

Dipping Sauce Ingredients
1 or 2 tablespoons Sweet Soy Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Toasted White Sesame Seeds


1. First make the herb mixture for marinade. Using a mortar and pestle, pound together garlic, coriander root, black peppercorns and lemongrass.

2. In a small bowl combine the herb mixture, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and white sesame seeds. Stir well then add in the bite size pieces of chicken thigh. Mix well to completely coat the chicken. Cover and refrigerate. It is recommended to marinate 1 hour. *Note – I’ve made this dish w/o marinating for an hour and it was still delicious.

3. Lay out the pandan leaves, so they are separated and not sticking together. If the leaves are wet, use a paper towel and rub gently or dab along the leaves to dry any moisture. After the chicken has marinated remove from the refrigerator. Take 1 leaf and around the chicken. See step by step photo’s below. Tug on the leaf to make sure it’s tight around the chicken. Set aside and finish wrapping all the chicken pieces.

4. Pour oil into a deep pot (I use my dutch oven). Turn to medium heat, the oil should be around 250F.
Working in batches of 4 or 5, hold the wrapped chicken by the long end of the leaf, gently place in the hot oil. Watch out for splatters from the oil. Using a long spoon move the chicken around a little so all sides are in the oil and deep fry until chicken is cooked and brown in color, about 3-4 min.

5. Once cooked through, using a slotted spoon remove chicken from oil and drain well on a plate lined with a paper towel.

6. Use a pair of scissors and snip off the long end of the leaf.

7. Pour sweet soy sauce in a small bowl and top with sesame seeds.

8. Plate the chicken and serve with dipping sauce. Remove leaf before eating.

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