Saturday, January 22, 2005

chicken in pandan bundles...

on my last too-long-ago trip back home, my good old college friend Kenks took me to "flavors and spices" in Makati where i had my first chicken pandan. another friend NM said when he went to Thailand, they could not find even one little piece of this tasty morsel (they wanted to compare the taste).
i did find a recipe though...this is from True Thai by Victor Sodsook.

marinate 1 lb. of cubed (1 & 1/2 inch pieces) boneless skinless chicken thighs in
2 tbsps. of whiskey, 2 tbsps. of light soy sauce, 2 tbsps. of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of lightly crushed sesame seeds, and 2 tsps.(or up to 1 tbsp) of ground white pepper, for at least 3 hours but ideally 12 hours in the refrigerator.

meanwhile, thaw 2 packages of flash-frozen pandan leaves (if like me you live in the frozen tundra called Boston and don't have fresh screwpine).
heat a deep heavy pan with 1 & 1/2 cups of vegetable oil. wrap marinated chicken cubes in the screwpine pandan leaf by wrapping across one piece, then set it seam side down on another piece and secure the "package" with a sturdy toothpick. fry in sizzlingly hot oil (360F), turning 2-3 times for about 2 minutes. drain in paper towels.

serve in a platter with an empty bowl alongside for the leaves. have your diners unwrap each bundle and dip in the following dipping sauce:
1/2 cup sweet dark soy
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

the chicken tastes smokey, sweetish, and almost like vanilla. very kiddie friendly!