LEMONGRASS & CHILE CHICKEN
Secrets of the Red Lantern (Vietnamese)
by Pauline Nguyen and Luke Nguyen
Luke Nguyen: This is a classic, and very popular, southern Vietnamese chicken dish. The thigh fillet of the chicken is commonly used in Vietnamese cooking, as it is inexpensive and perfect for grilling or frying—it absorbs flavor and remains tender and succulent throughout the cooking process. This is a quick and easy dish to prepare, with loads of flavor and fragrance. Be sure to drizzle the sauce over your steamed jasmine rice.
Lemongrass and Chile Chicken
(Gà Xào Xa Ót)
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
• 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon pickled chile
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 bird's-eye chile, sliced
• 1/2 small white onion, cut into wedges
• 1/2 cup chicken stock
• 1 small handful cilantro leaves
Discard the fat and cut the chicken thigh fillets into bite-size pieces. Combine the fish sauce, sugar, half the lemongrass, pickled chile, and garlic in a bowl. Mix well to dissolve the sugar, then fold the chicken pieces through the marinade and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat, put in the oil, remaining lemongrass, and sliced chile. Fry until the lemongrass starts to brown, then add the chicken to the saucepan. Stir and seal on all sides, add the onion and continue to fry for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and cover the pan with a lid, decrease the heat slightly, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat, stir and reduce the liquid slightly, then turn out into a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with jasmine rice.