The refreshing fragrance of lemongrass gives a tasty twist to this quick & easy Vietnamese chicken recipe – lemongrass chicken!
If you are not familiar with lemongrass, then I can’t stop myself from saying that you are missing something in life; that too something great! So, stop wasting more time and prepare this lemongrass chicken bites asap and come back to thank me! This Asian inspired lemongrass chicken has proved to be a winner in my home and I am pretty sure it will win everyone at yours too! Lemongrass can be called a perfect pick-me-up or mood booster thanks to its refreshing fragrance. It gives the boring chicken breasts a desirable makeover in this lemongrass chicken which you will love and keep on reaching for more. But if you are a chicken-thigh-kind-of-a-girl like me, skip that chicken breasts and use chicken thighs instead just as I did in my lemongrass chicken!
My gardening-freak husband had grown the lemongrass in our tiny kitchen garden for quite some time now but I didn’t get a chance to use it in any of my recipes. Then suddenly I landed on this lemongrass chicken recipe at Marion’s Kitchen through YouTube and immediately decided to make it for dinner. This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken has little inspiration from Thai cuisine as lemongrass is widely used in Thai cooking. Thai food has a fantastic balance of all flavors – sweetness, tartness and spiciness and so does Vietnamese food! This lemongrass chicken is a perfect example of how delicious Vietnamese food can be. If you are too fond of Thai food, you can also check out my Thai baked chicken which is one of the most popular recipes of my blog. This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken has one secret ingredient which takes the depth of flavor to a different level altogether and that is coconut water. I highly recommend you to use coconut water instead of plain water in this and see the difference for yourself.
I was quite a lazy kid during my teenage years, particularly when it used to come to household work. I used to get so much irritated when my mom asked for any help which was as simple as getting the bottle of milk from the refrigerator when she was engaged in the kitchen or folding the washed clothes and arranging them at their designated places. It never occurred to me that a helping hand in these simple tasks can make someone’s life so easy! Obviously! In that age of party and friends, how could I even imagine what it takes to manage both career and family with two kids! When I reflect on those days now, I wish I could go back in time and lend her that helping hand without that bit of exasperation. My granny used to be so worried about me wondering how I would cope after marriage with all the domestic work. I wish my granny could see me now!
Not only the household work, I do everything indoors and outdoors and trust me I enjoy every bit of it! After a hard day in office, I still have the energy to bake an elaborate cake at almost midnight and that too after driving through the maddest possible traffic for 2 hours! All this has been possible thanks to my mom! Even through the irritation, if I hadn’t grown the habit of doing the household chores during my school & college days, I am sure I couldn’t have managed both my professional and personal life in the way I am managing it today. So, the bottom-line is even though some of the petty work seems meaningless and boring, it is actually not quite so and you never know when it will work in your favor. With that thought of the day, I will leave you with the delicious recipe of the day, my most-loved lemongrass chicken.
- Chicken thigh – 500 gms, boneless & skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Fish sauce – 4 tbsp
- White sugar – 1 tbsp
- Corn flour / cornstarch – ½ tsp
- Lemongrass stalk – 2
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Garlic cloves – 8-10, minced
- Fresh red chilli – 1, finely chopped (Replace with green chilli if you can’t find red)
- Onion – 1, small, thinly sliced
- Tender coconut water – 1 cup
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves / cilantro – ¼ cup to garnish (optional)
- Discard the tough outer layer of the lemongrass stalks. Cut off the upper green leafy parts and use only the tender white bulb from inside. Smack the white part with the back of a knife and then chop it finely or grind in a food processor.
- Transfer half of the chopped lemongrass to a large bowl and reserve other half for later use. Add fish sauce, sugar and corn flour to the same bowl of chopped lemongrass. Give a good whisk.
- Drop the chicken cubes into this lemongrass mixture and mix well using a spatula. Leave the chicken on countertop to marinade for about 20 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in wok over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the reserved lemongrass, minced garlic, chopped red chilli & sliced onion and stir-fry on high for couple of minutes. You don’t need to brown the onion, but just soften them a little.
- Once the onion is softened, push them to one side and add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the marinated chicken cubes to wok along with all the marinating liquid. Spread the chicken in single layer and let them cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes on medium flame.
- Once the chicken starts to brown on the edges, flip them over and stir fry with everything together on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Next add the coconut water and bring the liquid to boil. Then reduce the heat to minimum and let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and chicken is completely cooked through.
- The sauce will also thicken at this point. Check and adjust for seasoning if needed. The fish sauce is quite salty already, so you may not need any additional salt.
- Remove the wok from heat. Serve the lemongrass chicken with steamed rice, topped with freshly chopped coriander leaves and some crunchy cucumbers on the side. Enjoy!