These 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!
These 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.
Before 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!