Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

I love Vietnamese food and found this recipe to be a keeper…restaurant quality!

It was adapted from a recipe that appeared in Food & Wine Magazine in an October 2007 article titled “Simply, Tasty Vietnamese Cooking,” and there are other great recipes there too.  The article an be found at

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
2 tbsp. Asian fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp. curry powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1½-inch pieces
3 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. cooking oil (Sesame seed oil is nice)
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, tender inner white bulbs only, minced
1 lg. shallot, thinly sliced
3 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
5 cilantro sprigs
1 scallion for garnish
Steamed rice, for serving

In a bowl, combine the fish sauce, garlic, curry powder, salt and 1½ tsp. of the sugar. Add the chicken to coat.

In a small skillet, mix the remaining 2 tbsp. sugar with 1 tbsp. of water and cook over high heat, stirring, until sugar  dissolves. Cook without stirring until a deep amber caramel forms, 2 to 3 min. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tbsp. of water. Transfer to a very small heatproof bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the lemon­grass, shallot and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 min. Add the chicken and caramel and stir-fry over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 8 min. Transfer to a bowl and top with the cilantro and scallion. Serve with rice.


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