Boneless chicken cutlets are marinated in sauces and spices, wrapped in aromatic pandan leaves and fried until crisp and browned. These pandan chicken nuggets are so flavorful they don’t need a dipping sauce and they are great as finger food or served with rice as a main dish.
I used to broil my pandan chicken. Broiling works well when the chicken cutlets include the skin which provides the necessary fat to make the meat moist and tender. But when using skinless chicken cutlets, frying is the best way to go.
But if you want even more flavor in your pandan chicken, try grilling them over glowing charcoal. That was how Alex cooked her pandan chicken yesterday. Cubes of chicken thigh fillets were wrapped in pandan leaves then threaded with bamboo skewers. My goodness, they were so good. I swear we’ll never go back to broiling nor frying pandan chicken.
For the marinade, Alex used my old recipe. Nothing was changed.
A final tip: if using skinless chicken fillets, marinate overnight to allow the meat to soak up the coconut cream. That will help prevent the chicken from drying out during grilling.
This is an updated recipe. The ingredients list remains unchanged but the cooking instructions have been modified. The old recipe is not retained.
- 1.2 kilos of skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2-inch cubes
- pandan leaves equal to the number of cut chicken pieces
- 12 to 15 bamboo skewers
- 8 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely grated turmeric (ginger is okay)
- 2 tablespoons lime (or lemon) juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 to 8 tablespoon coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 bird's eye chilies, finely chopped (optional)
- Place the chicken pieces in a bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is best especially if using skinless chicken fillets).
- Soak the bamboo skewers in water to prevent them from catching fire on the grill.
- Cut off the root and light green portions of the pandan leaves. Take the dark green portion and blanch in hot water for 30 seconds to release the aroma and to make them more pliable.
- Take one piece of chicken, wrap with a pandan leaf then thread with a bamboo skewer. Three to four pandan-wrapped chicken per skewer is a good starting point. Use more or less depending on the length of the skewers you're using.
- Repeat until all the chicken pieces are wrapped and skewered.
- Fire up the charcoal grill.
- Grill the skewered pandan chicken about six inches from the heat, three to four minutes per side.
- Serve the pandan chicken immediately as an appetizer, snack or main dish.
- If serving as a main dish, pandan chicken is especially good with rice. Serve with a vegetables dish on the side. Grilled eggplant and bell pepper salad with sesame-soy dressing is especially good.