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Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตย

Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตยThese pandan-wrapped chicken bites are perfect party appetizers.  I was aiming to post this recipe before the Superbowl so that everyone could enjoy these succulent pieces of fried chicken during the game, just as we were planning to.  But, well, life got in the way and that didn’t happen.

Then I thought I’d post the recipe on Monday, as I did serve them during the game and they were absolutely delicious…   A little late, but better than never, right?  Yeah, that didn’t happen either.  So, now that it’s Friday and the game has all but been forgotten, here’s a recipe for deep-fried pandan-wrapped chicken.  They’ll be perfect for your next big party!

Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตยThese appetizers are made by marinating chicken pieces in the Thai cilantro root, garlic, and white peppercorn marinade and then wrapping them in pandan leaves.  The marinade provides an earthy, slightly spicy flavor, while the pandan leaves impart their delicate, inviting aroma to the chicken.  Perhaps more importantly than fragrance, the pandan leaves also keep the chicken moist while it’s cooking so that you wind up with succulent bites of deep fried chicken.

To wrap the chicken in the pandan leaves, follow the diagram below.  First, fold the pandan leaf like you would to make a yellow ribbon, leaving one side longer than the other (image 2).  Place the chicken in the middle of the ribbon (image 3) and fold the longer pandan length back over the chicken, securing it by threading it through the other pandan length (image 4).  Turn the chicken over (image 5) and do the same thing with the longer pandan length on this side (image 6).  When you turn the chicken back over to its front, it should be wrapped fairly securely in the pandan leaf, with a little tip peeking out through the top.

Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตยBefore deep frying the chicken, it’s a good idea to let it sit for a minute or two to allow excess water and marinade to drip off.  This will spare you some serious oil popping later.  The chicken doesn’t take too long to cook, and you’ll know it’s done when the pandan leaves become crispy and acquire a more golden hue than green.  You can always take a piece out and cut into it to be  sure.

Pandan chicken is typically served with a sweet and salty sesame dipping sauce which complements the subtle spice of the chicken nicely.  However, if you’re a devoted sweet chili dipping sauce (nam jim gai) fan like the boyfriend is, please feel free to use this as well.  And if you are serving these fantastic pandan chicken bites for a party, giving your guests a choice in dipping sauces would make eating them even more fun!

Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตย

Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตย

Makes 4 servings

Pandan Chicken Bites | Gai Bai Tuey | ไก่ใบเตย


    For the chicken:
  • 1/2 pound chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon minced cilantro root
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
  • 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 10 pandan leaves
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • For the dipping sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon black soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons thin soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Prepare the garlic, white peppercorn, and cilantro root marinade paste as described in this article. Mix the paste with oyster sauce. Cut the chicken into medium-sized chunks, approximately 2 inches square, and combine with the marinade paste for at least 1 hour.
  2. Wash your pandan leaves and cut them into approximately 12 inch lengths. Wrap the marinated chicken in the leaves as demonstrated in the pictures above.
  3. Heat canola oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the pandan-wrapped chicken, one piece at a time, allowing the oil to retain its heat after each addition. Allow the chicken to cook for two to four minutes on each side, depending on the size of your chicken pieces. The exposed chicken should be golden brown and the pandan leaves crisp and golden.
  4. Drain the fried chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel and fry another batch, until all of the chicken has been cooked.
  5. To make the dipping sauce, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Allow to heat until the sugar is dissolved, then add the soy sauces and sesame seeds. Let cool, then serve with the deep fried pandan chicken bites.

8 comments… add one
  • em April 21, 2014, 6:50 am

    Rachel, if i’m a man, i’ll marry you :)

    • Rachel April 21, 2014, 3:30 pm

      Thanks, I appreciate that, Em :)

  • Jessica March 10, 2014, 10:08 pm

    Beautiful presentation with pandan leaves. Those are flavorful little things- i would imagine they add flavor to the chicken wrapped like that? I use them a lot in my Sri Lankan dishes. Anyway, I practically grew up on Thai food, so I am glad I stumbled upon your site today. Cheers!

    • Rachel March 11, 2014, 3:29 am

      Thanks for commenting Jessica! I love pandan leaves — they add such a wonderful subtle flavor to so many dishes!

  • Deborah February 12, 2014, 6:59 pm

    I happened upon your blog because, after being married to a Thai man for 32 years, I need to finally expand my repertoire of Thai dishes beyond the handful I now make. What took me so long? We’re retiring to Tucson, AZ and Tucson is a real black hole when it comes to good Thai restaurants. There are good Thai restaurants in Fort Collins, CO where we’ve lived throughout our marriage, with one of those being an absolute knock-out, and I feel terribly guilty that he’s not going to have those options here, since he was happy to stay in the Fort but I was desperate to escape the cold. I’m looking forward to becoming more intuitive about combining flavors with your help and am thrilled to have this resource.

    And now I just can’t help but ask: With how thoroughly you’ve embraced and perfected his cuisine, how on earth is it that your boyfriend hasn’t married you after ten years?! For shame, sir! ;)

    • Rachel February 19, 2014, 2:25 am

      Thanks for commenting Deborah! I’m always happy to meet other couples like us :) I hope that at least some of the recipes here are helpful in creating some of the dishes that your husband craves…

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