“Delightful Aromatic Parcel of A Chicken”
Pandan, the aromatic leaves of a perennial grass (Screwpine), wrapped around chunks of strongly marinated chicken in the form of a parcel, steamed, and finally deep-fried constitute the whole cooking processes of this sweet-savory aromatic Thai dish. Steaming the chicken in pandan leaves imparts a floral fragrance, while deep-frying caramelizes the sugary marinade and browns the leaves, imbuing the meat with a nutty flavor. The final product is a delightful aromatic parcel of chicken that can be served as an appetizer/starter, finger food or a main dish. Here’s The Viand’s take on “Thai Pandan Leaf Wrapped Chicken(Gai Hor Bai Toey)“.
- Deboned Chicken Thighs – most recipe call skinless but The VianD prefer to leave part of the skin attached as it brings tons of flavors after deep-frying. Pandan Leaves (Screwpine).
- Garlic, Shallot, Ginger Scallion, Parsley (especially the stem), Lemongrass and Red Chilli. All blend into a paste. Thick Coconut milk.
Dipping Sauce (Optional) :
- Juice generated from steaming the Chicken. Simply flavor it a little more by adding Salt, Sugar and Light Soy. Finely sliced Scallion and Red Chili. Maybe a little rice vinegar for a little tanginess if U like. A tea-spoonful of toasted Sesame seeds would be good too.
- Salt, Sugar/Plam sugar (Gula Melaka), white pepper, a touch of Oyster sauce, Fish sauce and a dash of Sesame oil and dark Soy just for coloring. All to taste. ** Note : Just dash/pinch of everything, if U prefer a stronger intensity of an ingredient flavor, simply add a little extra of that ingredient/spice – no rocket scientific measurement here. Always taste your Seasoning !!!
- Step 1 : Start by cutting the Chicken into slightly bigger than bite-size. Keep aside. Puree all the Marinating Ingredients into a paste. Keep aside.
- Step 2 : Marinate the Chicken with the paste, Coconut milk and all Seasoning Ingredients for at lease a couple of hrs or better still overnite. Wrap the Chicken chunks with the Pandan leaves. Frankly do it anyway U fancy, no hardcore rules of doing this, just as long the Chicken stays wrapped in the leaves during the cooking process. Some prefer cute tiny parcels and some, like The VianD, prefer bigger parcel with a more rustic look. LoL Or maybe it is just a case of “butter fingers” with The VianD.
- Step 3 : Place the Chicken on some kind of rack; as much juice will be produced from the steaming (use this juice to create the Dipping sauce). Steam the wrapped Chicken for abt 10-15 mins – depending on the heat and size of the Chicken. U can do this in advance. Making sure that the Chicken is at room temperature, proceed to deep-fry the Chicken in medium-high heat. Remember, the Chicken is already steam-cooked so all U need is really a min or two – just to crisp and brown the Pandan leaves. Set aside to drain off excess oil. Viola, ur “Thai Pandan Leaf Wrapped Chicken(Gai Hor Bai Toey)” is ready to be served warm.