NOTHING says old recipe like a tattered piece of paper with faded writing.
I cannot remember where I got this recipe, but I will never forget my first taste of this dish at someone’s house.
It was a time when pandan chicken was not a common restaurant dish and you could only enjoy it if you were invited to dine at a Peranakan household.
Chicken pieces should be marinated with the ingredients for at least 30 minutes
This dish has evolved so much that not many people remember what it used to taste like.
Therefore, I’m sharing this truly retro recipe not only for posterity but also for everyone to get a taste of traditional pandan chicken.
Unlike modern versions, this recipe does not include lemongrass, turmeric or chillies.
It does, however, contain coconut milk which tenderises and plumps up the chicken meat.
When the coconut milk has been absorbed into the chicken, begin wrapping the pieces in pandan leaves.
It is important to marinate the chicken in the refrigerator because coconut milk can turn sour at room temperature.
Also prominent in the marinade is a whole sprig of cilantro or coriander, and coriander powder, which is ground coriander seeds.
Of course, the star of the dish is pandan, which when fried with the chicken, infuses it with a fragrance and flavour that is endemic to this region.
I find that the shorter species of pandan gives better flavour, and its narrower leaves do not enclose the chicken too much so the exposed areas can become crispy.
Best served hot, pandan chicken can be eaten as an appetiser or as a part of the main meal.
It is best to serve immediately, either on its own or with a sweet Thai sauce.
Pandan chicken is usually eaten as an appetiser or even a part of the main meal.
Pandan ChickenIngredients:2 chicken quarters
20 pieces pandan leaves
500ml cooking oil
5cm (2 inches) galangal
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs black pepper
1 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk
Method:1. Cut each chicken quarter into 10 bite-size pieces.
2. Blend galangal and whole sprigs of cilantro including their roots.
3. Season chicken pieces with
galangal, cilantro, coriander, sugar, salt, pepper, fish sauce and coconut milk for at least 30 minutes.
4. When the coconut milk has been absorbed into the chicken, begin wrapping the chicken in pandan leaves. Wrap each piece of chicken in a pandan leaf in a triangular shape, securing with toothpicks if necessary.
5. Heat oil to deep fry pandan packets of chicken in batches, about 5 minutes on each side. If any packet unravels when it enters the oil, remove immediately and rewrap them in the pandan.
6. Chicken is done when the oil
stops sizzling and exposed corners become crispy. Remove from
the frying pan and drain off excess oil.
7. Serve with Thai sweet chilli sauce, or enjoy on its own.