One of my favourite Southeast Asian flavouring is the pandan leaf. It adds a very fresh, aromatic twist to both sweet and savoury dishes. When added to steamed rice, it imparts a very fresh, newly harvested scent and taste.
In hot countries it grows in abundance and every household has to have at least one bush. It is so prolific that it sometimes grows more than you'd like it to. When it does, it can provide a safe haven to unwanted garden guests such as snakes.
This is my own version of a popular dish: Pandan Chicken. Well seasoned morsels of chicken are wrapped in strips of pandan leaves and fried. Both the seasonings and the pandan leaves give the chicken an intense aromatic taste. I wish the photos had a scratch and smell feature so everyone can enjoy the fragrance of this dish.
8 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1" x1" pieces
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsps. grated fresh ginger
2 tsps. chopped red chillies
2 tbsps. of chopped spring onions
2 tbsps. chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsps. oyster sauce
3 tbsps. fish sauce
2 tbsps. lemon or lime juice
2 tbsps. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsps. sesame oil
4 tsps. of corn flour
Mix all of the ingredients, except for the pandan leaves and the cooking oil, together in a mixing bowl. Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes. Wrap each piece in a pandan leaf. The pandan leaf is wrapped around the chicken like a neck tie.
(1) Starting from the wide end of the leaf, wrap around the chicken in a conical shape.
(2) Fold the loose strip of leaf over the chicken and wrap around the cone shape several times until the chicken is more or less concealed.
(3) Tuck in the remaining strip into the parcel to seal.
Serve with sweet chilli sauce.
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