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Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Recipe

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Recipe: Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, October 2007 “Simple, Tasty Vietnamese Cooking”

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast/thigh, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, tender inner white bulbs only, minced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
3 chilies, seeded and minced
1 scallion for garnishing

Method:

In a bowl, combine the fish sauce, garlic, curry powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar. Add the chicken meat to coat.

In a small skillet, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1 tablespoon of the water and cook over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook without stirring until a deep amber caramel forms. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the lemongrass, shallot, and chilies and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the chicken and caramel and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened. Transfer to a bowl and top with the scallion. Serve with steamed white rice.

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121 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

    • Debora

      If you have an Asian market, some of them have some in the frozen section it’s grated in a plastic jar good luck in findinformation it

    • sigrid

      I bought lemon grass in an asian market, let it sit in a glass of water until it rooted, then planted it outside. Now it is handy whenever I needed. try it

  1. Oh for the love of food!

    I’ts a real pity that I don’t live where you are. I’d invite myself over everyday when you need to clear your fridge! Love your Lemongrass chicken, and your prawn balls with the wanton skin strips is a BLAST!Is there a lucky guy in particular that gets to savour all your Yummy stuff?

  2. Claude-Olivier

    Hi, it sounds so good that I will try this recipe this week, that’s for sure! I will travel throught Asia with your food ;-) cheers

  3. Andreea

    that sounds absoulety delicious. something for the weekend
    i als overy much love how you created the 4 photo slide. any chance you could share the secret tool? i am obviously totally at the other extreme to tech savy :)

  4. East Meets West Kitchen

    I love your picture (as always), and since I have all the ingredients on hand, I can’t wait to try this tonight. Thanks!

  5. Lydia

    A friend just harvested some lemongrass from her garden, and I’ve been making a list of recipes that use it. I’ll definitely try this one!

  6. Happy cook

    Wow they just look superb.When i saw the pic i thought u deepfried the chicken but it is the caramel which gives it suce a nice colour.
    I am for sure going to try this recipe.
    I don’t like the fish sauce can i omit that.

  7. veron

    Wonderful! My practicing my Asian food cooking skills and I love lemon grass chicken so I guess I know what I’ll be making soon!

  8. ptanu

    I love the flavor of lemongrass but I’ve never cooked with it much–my mum’s recipes always tend to be so complex. This is one I’m definitely going ot try!

  9. tigerfish

    Wooo… I simply love lemongrass in anything. I made the so-called Baba coriander chicken before and it uses lemongrass too. YUMS!

  10. Jen Yu

    another gorgeous looking dish. i want you to come to my house when i’m cleaning out MY fridge! thanks for the awesome posts and recipes – you keep me Asian, woman :)

  11. Kate

    Rasa , the colour of this chicken is so rich and gorgeous.Just wondering if 2. half tbsps would be too sweet ! oe maybe the curry pwd will balance it out. Looks fab …defi worth a try !

  12. Cynthia

    I’ve had this dish at the home of some friends, the only thing is that they used chicken wings. It was soooooo good and was finished in no time :) No, No, not by me alone (lol)

  13. Graeme

    Lemongrass Chicken – It’s just one of those things you KNOW you’ll love.

    Beautiful photos as always. Really, really beautiful.

  14. Sunkid

    Another great shot there! Your recipe sounds divine, and one thing I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time: Are you using a digicam or one of those SLR Digital cameras?

  15. joey

    That sounds sooooo good! Love things that are both sweet and spicy :) Love lemongrass too! Over here we call lemongrass tanglad :)

  16. A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!!

    my my…, somehow happened to stumble over this site, and trust me..have been sitting here in front of my monitor, and have gone thru all the posts, from Day 1 !!!

    lov ur snaps, cud definitely see the quality rise in snaps from the initial to those now (from good to superb, i mean)…

    the prawns balls, shrimp roll with popped out tail….got no words to say, except that i am just can resist tryin it out myself…

  17. Julia

    I made this a few nights ago and it was absolutely delicious! I grated in some fresh ginger too. Mine didn’t turn out such a beautiful caramel colour, but it became an instant fave for me and I’ll be making it often – thank you!

  18. Anonymous

    I’m Vietnamese, and I have to say this looks very similar to the way my family makes this dish-I’ll have to try it soon! We deal with lemongrass a lot, and though I don’t particularly like the flavor, it’s a great addition to marinating meats and to recipes like this :) And you can find lemongrass in just about any asian market (I fortunately live near more than five of them), so the ingredients are really easy to get as well.

  19. Joy de Vivre

    Wow. I made this last night – and it was just as good as the pictures looked! Not too much work either! Yuuuummmmmmmmyyyy!

    Thanks!

  20. GiGi

    i hv tried your recipe, and it works really well!! the lemongrass aroma is everywhere in my little apartment and my 2 boys just keep on asking me, “mama, wat is that smell? it sound so delicious!” Oh! Man….Thanks alot, u make up my day:)

  21. Anonymous

    I tried your vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe for my husband and now vietnamese lemongrass chicken is a favourite in our house.

  22. Anonymous

    I tried this recipe yesterday and we all like it. It was yummy and i love lemongrass flavor. Definitely will be making it again.

  23. Martin & Emma

    Travelled around in Vietnam in 2003 and enjoyed the lemongrass chicken. Tried the dish tonight and loved it!

    Martin & Emma, Sweden

  24. Princess Mouseau

    I’ve tested the recipe!
    I failed to add water at the end of making the caramel and it hardened.. But it still tasted fantastic without the caramel! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Anon

    ‘Recipe pretty much looks right on. The only thing that normally isn’t used is the curry powder =)’

    I agree with the comment above. There is another dish, which people use fresh Turmeric, it calls ‘Ga xao xa nghe’, which translates as ‘Stir-fried chicken with lemon grass and Turmeric’ in that case people use Turmeric instead of Caramel sauce to give the dish a yellow colour.The combination of the two herbs gives the dish a different taste. Added crush unsalt peanuts for garnishing to both dishes you’ll get the perfect taste. Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and have tried many other recipes, thank for sharing. Happy cooking. :-)

  26. lilian

    Hi I am thinking of making this delicious recipe. Is it ok to use meat curry powder like Baba’s brand? And how long does it take for the caramel sauce to turn amber in colour? Cos I read that boiling it for too long even just less than a minute can result in a bitter taste. Thanks if you can reply asap.

  27. Jun

    Hi,

    I’m new to cooking and would love to try this recipe. I have come across many dishes requiring the use of lemon grass. But how do I pounce or minced the lemongrass? Put it in a blender?

    I would appreciate it if you can advise.

    Thank you and I love your website.

    Regards,
    Jun

  28. KOC

    Hi, I stumbled upon your site and have been looking at all your recipes the entire day… and trying some of them today :-)

    One thing I don’t understand thou – what’s this “fish sauce” that appears so frequently in your recipes? I asked at our local grocery shop (in KL) and they don’t seem to know what it is…

  29. hector rojo

    I am lucky enough to be half Vietnamese and half Mexican. A product of the US going to Vietnam. lucky for me i didnt get left like some kids did. (i have a half brother and a half sister that were killed because they had the same american father i did.) i loved this dish. in fact my mom would make it for me once a week, and when i moved out she would try to bribe me to come over with this dish and brasied pork belly and egg. my wife has had my mothers chicken with lemon grass and when i cooked it for the second time over the memorial day weekend she confessed she liked mine more. (dont tell my mother) i was suprised at how much it looked like your picture. thanks for the basic recipe.

    • Khesanh Doan

      hi, i read your post and i was amazed this may be way off topic but WOW half Vietnamese half Mexican thats got to be a good mix!! im half Vietnamese half English ,my mother was English and ba was viet which was not around long but lucky for me mom learnt a few things braised pork belly and egg love it and ginger chicken pigs feet soup pho etc alot of great dishes Vietnamese have but im sure theres more out there that mom dont know about so i was curious to know if u have any other recipes that u wouldnt see in restaurants and that but more there home style cooking recipes that u may want to infrom me on so i can try i would appreciate alot please
      thank you Khesanh :D

  30. Umashree

    hi…I’m from India,Hyderabad.
    The fish sauce used in this recipe isn’t available here as far as i know,so is there any other sauce i could use in place of the fish sauce which will give me the same flavour??
    Please advice.
    Thank you :)

  31. keekerngcheng

    Hi Ms Low Bee Yinn
    I cooked this for dinner tonight and both my hubby and daughter like it. It tastes a bit like the Malacca version of what is known as satay chicken. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

  32. arllontabanao

    Hi I’m from philippines I tried this recipe and it’s really delicious although I cook it unperfectly but still taste good my family really like the recipe.

  33. Wow. This was Google’s first suggestion for “lemongrass chicken”.. it was easy, delicious and I learned some new techniques! Thanks for posting, I shared it on Facebook where I’m sure all of my foodie friends will learn to love it as well!

  34. Simon

    Looks really delicious. It’s 2011 and I’m really surprised that a vendor don’t know what fish sauce is. Just go to a thia store and ask for “nam plah”. However, I tried this recipe and it turned out really delicious:).

  35. Chrissy Wei

    I tried this recipe today. “Excellent”was my husband’s comments and he is a pretty harsh critic when it comes to food, especially Asian cuisine. …. On another note, definently adhere to the 3 chili(s), I used double, ( 3 red, 3 green) and it was almost too spicy for my husband, other then that, it has a great flavor( spicy, and yet sweet)
    a nice even blend! ……….

  36. lyaxoxo

    Hi…I tried this recipe once before and enjoyed it! So, I came back to find the recipe again but, I’m having a really hard time finding the actual recipe here. All I see now are the 80 comments and no recipe :( Please help!

  37. LindaB

    A tip for those who don’t like making caramel — it can be tricky and messy — instead, try mixing some dark corn syrup with a bit of water…same flavor, same texture, and same great dish!

  38. Traycie

    I love lemongrass in many dishes, it really brings out a very nice and light fragrent to any dishes. I added chopped ginger to this and I carmalized with splenda with olive oil,once carmalization was completed I added my fresh ginger and lemongrass mixture. After the fresh spices was dry *looking* i threw in the marinated chicken and stir fried on high until the there wasn’t any oils/carmel left in the pan. I never thought about adding curry, tried it with curry…LOVED IT!!! Thanks!! Coming from a Halfie(Vietnamese/French)

  39. pumpatch

    Stumbled onto your site the other day and decided to try this recipe. I had a big bush of lemon grass and didn’t know what to do with it besides making satay. This dish was delicious!!

    This weekend I am trying about 4 of your chinese recipe for a dinner party of 9. Can’t wait!!

    Thanks for your recipes!

  40. sandi149

    I made this last night for my family and it was absolutely delicious!!! Will definitely be making again. Could I also use shrimp instead of the chicken with this recipe?

  41. Amrita

    I cooked this recipe of yours tonight. Turned out well but unfortunately it’s not as Caramelized and brown as yours and I’m not sure why? The curry powder you think? I used baba meat curry powder. It tasted great but I pound the lemongrass into a paste next time instead as there was a crunch to the lemongrass. Could be my lemongrass tho?

  42. DanS

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe. Photo looks amazing!
    I would like to try to use lemongrass, but I am not a big fan of fish sauce. Can I just eliminate it or there are substitute for it?
    Thank you!

  43. Jan

    This recipe is amazing! I keep making it and we simply can’t get enough, the favors are blended perfectly:) Even kids love it!

  44. Katherine

    Hi, I really love your website! I really want to make this dish but I only have dried lemongrass and minced lemongrass in a tube at my house and I don’t have access to an Asian market. Is it possible to use dried lemongrass or the minced lemongrass that comes in a tube? Is so, roughly how much would I use?

    Thank you very much!

    Everything I have made from your website is soo good! I also am very tempted to by your book from Amazon!

  45. Katherine

    Thank you so much for replying to my post!

    I did luckily find fresh lemongrass at my local grocery store- maybe I never noticed it before now but I’m glad I found it. I’m definitely making this tomorrow!

    • Dympsing

      I made this very tasty meal and simply enjoyed EVERY bite of it. I only used 1 chilli however as I didn’t feel confident about using 3. The result, for me, was terrific. I’m going to cook this for friends who are coming for dinner at the weekend. Thank you.

  46. Hi,
    I tried this recipe and it tastes really good. However mine looks rather pale? I tried it twice and it doesn’t turn as brown as your picture. Did I not caramelize the sugar long enough? Thanks.

  47. Josephine

    H,
    Thank you for this delicious recipe. Everyone just loved it.
    I used dried lemongrass instead.
    Please continue to give us your lovely recipes.

  48. Hi Rasa! Just cooked this recipe today and it’s stunning. But I have one question: My meal looks nearly as yours in the picture above, but I didn’t taste the lemongrass at all! Maybe I’m not used to the taste, because I used it the first time ever, but I thought the hint of it would be stronger. I chopped it in small little pieces with my kitchenknive and put it in with the shallot and the chilies like you iinstructed in your recipe. Did I do anything wrong?

    Best regards & and thanks for the awesome site,

    Pauly

    • Hi Pauly, did you use fresh lemongrass? Did you use the bottom part? Some lemongrass loses its fragrance if they are not fresh…use the flat side of the knife to “pound” the white stem to release the aroma. :)

      • Hey Rasa, I used fresh lemon grass, yes. Maybe the quality in germany is not as good as in other countries or it was already older. I will try it again with your kind tips and let you know how it was!

  49. Angela

    I know that there are lots of curry powders out there, can you tell me what color/kind of curry powder you would recommend for this dish?

  50. Rebecca Richards

    This recipe is AMAZING! A little too hot for the kids,but my husband and I loved it! I added some asparagus…sooo goood!

  51. Vivian Tanis

    You have a very clean blog website and I love how we can click on the recipe with the option to print with / without photos – and the bonus – no ads. The food looks excellent I will try this weekend.

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