Malaysian Pan-fried Pandan Chicken (Ayam Goreng Pandan)


When I miss home, I cook foods that remind me of home. One of these is pan fried pandan chicken. The fragrant smell from the pandan leaves is a smell that reminds me of my childhood in Malaysia. Pandan is a tropical plant that is widely grown throughout Southeast Asia and South Asia. My mother and my mother’s neighbours all grow pandan in their front or back yards. They often use the fragrant pandan leaves to flavour their sweet or savoury cuisines.

Pandan leaves are commonly used in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine as a natural green food colouring and flavouring agent. The tied knot of pandan leaves are added into rice to enhance the aroma. Pandan leaves are also used as natural air fresheners. You might have seen it being used in some taxis in Thailand and Malaysia. They are also great natural insect repellents for cockroaches!

Pandan leaves come from Pandanus amaryliifolius which is known as the edible pandan. It’s in the same family as the ubiquitous pandanus trees that you see on many tropical beaches, but the leaves of the edible pandan are not as tough. You can grow it as a landscape filler plant if you don’t have room for it in your vegetable garden. It’s easy to grow in the tropics and doesn’t require much maintenance. Image: © Mohd KhairilX

For this dish, the chicken maintains its tenderness and juiciness as the chicken is marinated in coconut milk with some other spices for some time. As the chicken is wrapped in pandan leaves while being fried, it keeps the juices in place.

Try it and you will love this recipe!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serving size: serves 4


  • 3 chicken breasts (600g)
  • 12 to 15 pandan leaves
  • Cooking oil – olive oil or sunflower oil

Marinade ingredients:

  • 2 inches of ginger or galangal
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro or coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut amino or liquid amino or sugar free soy sauce
  • ½ cup of coconut milk


  1. Slice the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces.
  2. Put all the marinade ingredients into a food processor/blender and blend well. Or you can use a mortar and pestle and take your time to mince and mix them!
  3. In a big bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the marinade sauce. Let them sit for at least an hour so that the coconut milk is absorbed well into the chicken.
  4. Begin wrapping the chicken in pandan leaves. Wrap the chicken in a pandan leaf in a triangular shape or any shape you want. Secure it with toothpicks if necessary. Make sure you have some exposed corners.
  5. Heat some cooking oil in a frying pan or wok. You can choose to pan fry or deep fry the chicken wrap in pandan leaves in batches. About 5 minutes on each side.
  6. If any packet becomes untangled during the frying process, remove immediately and rewrap it.
  7. The chicken is done when the oil stops sizzling and the exposed corners become crispy. Remove from the frying pan and drain off excess oil on some kitchen paper.
  8. Serve with some chili sauce if you like some kicks or just enjoy on its own.

Header image: © PoohLing E



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