Pandan Chicken Recipe
(Gai hor bai toey – Thai Recipe)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 coriander (cilantro) roots
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
½ tablespoon castor sugar
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
500 g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat, each cut into four
12-14 pandanus (screwpine) leaves
500 ml vegetable oil for frying
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons palm sugar
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and coriander until fine then transfer to a bowl. Add the pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, turmeric powder and curry power (if using), fish sauce to the bowl. Mix well, making sure the sugar has dissolved, add the chicken, cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.
When you are ready to cook, you can wrap the chicken in the pandanus leaves in two ways:
1. Make a triangle with the pandanus leaf, placing the chicken in the center when wrapping tightly and securing with a cocktail stick.
2. Take a pandanus leaf and twist the left end into the middle of the leaf to create a hollow. Place two of the chicken cubes in the hollow, then feed the right end through the hole and tighten both ends as if tying a bow. Tie tightly so the cooking oil cannot seep into the filling and cut both ends, leaving about 1 in at each end.
Make the sauce by simmering the soy sauce and sugar together in a small saucepan, stirring until the palm sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a small bowl for serving, and top with the toasted sesame seeds.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan to 160°C and deep-fry the chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves for 3-5 minutes. Unwrap one of the parcels and check if the chicken is cooked. Serve on a plate with the sauce or chili sauce.