Pandan-Wrapped Chicken, Guest Post by Foodiva’s Kitchen

Hi everyone. While I attempt to get back to some sort of normalcy and back to work my dear friend Maya, of Foodiva’s Kitchen, so graciously volunteered to help me out with a guest post. Maya like your food you are beautiful and so giving, I dearly appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I will be back soon with some new recipes but until then please help me give Maya a very warm welcome.

Chicken, Pandan Wrapped Chicken© Foodiva’s Kitchen

Hi I’m Maya, owner of Foodiva’s Kitchen and I’m happy to step in and guest post for Nancy today. As you may already know, she and her husband had recently lost their long-time companion and very loving dog, Panchito and I offered to help out while she takes some well-needed time off to reflect on their great loss. Right now, I live about 7,000 miles (or 13,000 kilometres) away from Nancy, so while I am unable to comfort her in person, I felt the least I could do for her is this.

Chicken, Pandan Wrapped Chicken© Foodiva’s Kitchen

I chose to share a recipe that’s very popular in Southeast Asia, and if you’ve ever been to Thailand, you’ve probably had this dish. It’s called Pandan Chicken, pieces of boneless chicken marinated in a flavorful coriander-soy-garlic mixture and wrapped in another aromatic ingredient, pandan leaves or screwpine. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the prevalent usage of pandan in Asian cuisine is akin to the usage of vanilla. Unlike vanilla though, we use pandan to flavor a range of dishes, from sweet to savory ones as well.

Chicken, Pandan Wrapped Chicken© Foodiva’s Kitchen

Pandan leaves bear a piney, sweet, very fragrant scent only once they’re slightly wilted and crushed. Strangely enough, the really fresh ones don’t give off much aroma. Just purely for information in case you’ll have a use for this someday… pandan is also a weapon of mass slaughter for certain annoying household pests (not pets). The distinct scent of pandan apparently drives cockroaches nuts and knocks them dead. So whenever there’s been a roach infestation problem, we never call the pest control guy but just scatter pandan leaves all over the house. It’s way cheaper. One thing though, if you have a pandan plant in your garden, be prepared to welcome snakes as well because they love to reside inside the cooling pandan bushes. As with everything else in life, there are pros and cons to something magical!

But back to the pros, I’ve actually experimented with flavoring many of my dishes with pandan – be it breads, desserts, rice, ice creams, drinks, even meats. This chicken dish is one of the easiest ones to do. Fresh pandan leaves may be difficult to get outside our region, but some Asian groceries in the US and Europe may carry frozen ones. If you are able to get hold of some, simply thaw and wash them well before use. Pandan essence is also available in small bottles so you can add a few drops to the chicken marinade if you wish to try this recipe out. Although I must add, having no pandan leaves takes out the pleasure of unwrapping the chicken before you eat them…

Chicken, Pandan Wrapped Chicken© Foodiva’s Kitchen

Even though you may not be able to cook this now, when you come out to visit (or live in) Southeast Asia, you now know what’s on your foodie list to try.

Nancy, it’s been a joy to take over your blog even if it’s only for one day. You go ahead and continue to take good care of yourself, girl!

Pandan-Wrapped Chicken

500 grams (about 1 lb) boneless chicken breasts
1 ½ tablespoons crushed coriander seeds
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon palm or caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce or BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon milk
15 pandan leaves, cleaned well and cut into two equal pieces
30 wooden toothpicks
Oil, for frying

1. Cut the chicken into 2-inch chunks.
2. Crush the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle to or grind coarsely in a grinder. Transfer to a bowl and add garlic and pepper. Add soy sauce, sugar, oyster/BBQ sauce, sesame oil and milk. Mix well.
3. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and mix well. Cover and leave for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
4. When the chicken is finished marinating, create little ‘pandan-leaf’ packets by wrapping a strip of pandan leaf around each piece of chicken, leaving the ends exposed. Secure the pandan ends with a wooden toothpick.
5. Shallow fry the leaf packets on medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, until the meat is browned.
6. Unwrap and discard pandan leaf before eating. Serve with the sauce below.

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons black soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar or lime juice
2-3 tablespoons palm or caster sugar
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan on medium-low heat until browned and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, simmer the rest of the sauce ingredients on medium-low heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
3. Top the sauce with the sesame seeds and serve with the pandan chicken.


Check out another delish Pandan recipe by Ms. Foodiva:
Pandan and Honey Melon Ice Cream


  1. says

    So sorry to hear about Nancy’s loss. I absolutely loved your guest post, Maya. I’m just back from Thailand on holiday and appreciate this gorgeous dish. I also had no idea that cockroaches hate pandan leaves – handy to know if needed! Your photos are so beautiful and can smell that feast for the eyes from here!

  2. says

    Hi Nancy, the only sad thing about this recipe is that you probably won’t be able to get fresh leaves like these in Prague. Tell you what, my friend is going to London next week and she’ll be bringing these fresh pandan leaves from me, and mail them over to you. Hah, nothing is impossible as far as foodie dreams go! Glad you liked this and the pandan ice cream recipe :-).

    • says

      Hi Maya, That is true I probably wont be able to find them fresh. Oh Maya you are just too kind. I don’t want to inconvenience you or your friend and certainly not cause any problems for her at the airport. Hehe, no I guess nothing is impossible:)
      Thanks again for everything you’ve done, it means the so much. Yes I loved both of your pandan recipes.

  3. says

    Nancy, isn’t Maya the sweetest..I adore this woman and it was so nice of her to help and comfort you this way.
    Maya, this is very delicious looking presentation, and photos. I love this idea and recipe..i can’t wait to try it!
    Both of you have a restful day! xoxo

  4. says

    I am so sorry to hear about Nancy’s dog. I had little Maltese for 13 years and was so sad when she died. She was my sweetie. You are a good friend Maya. I am sure she feels really blessed by you. Thanks for another amazing recipe.

  5. says

    Hi Maya – So sweet of you to help Nancy out … losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. A beautiful dish. xoxo

    • says

      Trixibelle, I recall that we both lost our pets, Pete and Bruce Lee around the same time last year. And that was how we started to bond as friends, remember? Through our broken hearts rose a really beautiful friendship! The universe sure works in funny ways :-).

      • says

        Hi Trix, Yes she is just so kind and giving. I also remember your sweet Pete as well as Bruce Lee.
        Maya you are so right our broken hearts have brought as all together.

  6. says

    Beautiful post Maya! I will look for Pandan leaves, now you’ve got me interested in this method for cooking chicken;-) Take care Nancy;-)

  7. says

    Hi Maya – FABULOUS recipe an you are sweeter than honey to do this. I really like this recipe! Nancy, we’re thinking of you….

  8. says

    Maya thank you so much for helping me out and for writing a stellar guest post. The chicken looks so juicy and delicious. I’ve heard of Pandan leaves but don’t think I’ve come across them. How great that you can use Pandan as a sweet or savory ingredient. Not to mention as a natural pest control.
    It’s lunchtime and now my mouth is gathering:)

    • says

      If they make it through customs in Heathrow, the pandan leaves will be on their way to you next week! Haha…I like the excitement of smuggling foodie things in, don’t you? Well, if they are confiscated, they’re only leaves after all, At least I can say I tried :-).

      (Btw, I have really FAB friends who would do virtually anything for me, so doing this is no problem. I’m totally spoilt and very, very lucky!)


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