Juicy, fragrant Lemongrass Chicken infused with a dynamic marinade is stand-alone-delicious but also makes killer salads, wraps and zoodle/quinoa/rice bowls!
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken is not only marinated with lemongrass but red curry paste, Asian sweet chili sauce, garlic, ginger, basil, soy sauce and fish sauce for a tantalizing complex, can’t-stop-eating chicken! Once the marinating is complete, this chicken can be on your table in less than 15 minutes!
I am so in love with Asian cuisine from my Pad Thai to my Tandoori Chicken to my Panang Curry. I actually have to pace my recipes so you don’t only get Asian recipes in your inbox! Case in point, I’ve already made two more recipes with this Lemongrass Chicken to share with you because I am obsesssssssssed.
This Lemongrass Chicken is everything. I mean, just look at the marinade ingredients. I honestly don’t know if it gets any better and it’s so easy! Just marinate chicken, cook/grill and eat! Which makes this Lemongrass Chicken perfect for back-to-school hectic weeknight dinners when you don’t feel like cooking but tastes restaurant delicious. Gotta love the magic of marinades.
What Does Lemongrass Chicken Taste Like?
If you’ve never cooked with lemongrass before, don’t be intimidated! It is easy to use and adds a complex slightly sweet, pungent, and lemony taste. This Lemongrass Chicken is tangy, the perfect combo of sweet and sour with hints of lemon and herbs. You can make it as spicy as you like with 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce being very mild and going up from there.
What is Lemongrass?
Lemongrass lives up to its name – it is perennial grass that grows in tropical climates with a pungent, lemony taste. It is widely used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and as a medicinal herb in India.
Lemongrass grows in clusters and can reach anywhere between six to ten feet in height but is chopped and sold in about 18” stalks. A stalk of lemongrass consists of a few layers of tough outer husks and a softer white core.
The tender white core is traditionally chopped or ground for marinades (like in our Lemongrass Chicken), curries or stir fries. The stalk of lemongrass can also be bruised to release its flavor and added to stews and soups like in my Tom Kha Gai Soup. Lemongrass can also be dried and powdered.
Where Can I Buy Lemongrass?
As the name Lemongrass Chicken implies – you need lemongrass for this recipe! Lemongrass can be found at Asian markets and often in the produce section of your grocery store. If your grocery store doesn’t have it, then specialty stores such as Sprouts and Whole Foods will carry it. If you don’t spot it right away, make sure you ask someone because it is fairly common and probably hiding somewhere.
How to Choose Lemongrass
Lemongrass Chicken is only as good as your lemongrass! When selecting lemongrass at the store, look for stalks that are firm but slightly pliable rather than soft and rubbery or dried out and brittle. Look for stalks that transition from pale yellow at the base to bright green in the husks and avoid stalks with leaves that are starting to brown.
How do you make lemongrass chicken?
Lemongrass Chicken is very, very simple to make. We are really just whisking together a bunch of marinade ingredients. The only question you might have is how to prep your lemongrass which I’ve detailed below:
- Trim Lemongrass. Trim the end off of the lemongrass and remove the tough outer husks – about 2-3 layers until you reach layers where the bottom is white and tender.
- Chop lemongrass. Chop the white bottom section of lemongrass up until it gets tough – about the bottom third/5” of the lemongrass stalk.
- Chop some more. After chopping the lemongrass off the stalk- chop some more so it’s chopped and not left in round sections. You don’t need to worry about finely dicing though because we want the pieces large enough to pick out once cooked if needed. I didn’t have to do this as all my lemongrass came off as I cooked my chicken.
- Whisk marinade together. Add all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl or Ziploc bag (whatever you are going to marinate your chicken in).
- Pound Chicken. Pounding chicken to an even thickens not only helps tenderize the chicken but ensures the chicken cooks evenly. Even cooking eliminates dryness caused from overcooking the chicken in order to make sure the thickest part is cooked at the peril of the thinnest.
- Add chicken to marinade. Add chicken and massage marinade into chicken so it’s evenly coated.
- Marinate. Marinate Lemongrass Chicken 30 minutes at room temperature up to 24 in the refrigerator – the longer the better!
- Let chicken rest. Let your chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before cooking so it will cook more evenly.
- Cook. You can grill or cook this Lemongrass Chicken on the stovetop per recipe instructions, both work fabulously well.
Lemongrass Chicken Breasts
I know many of you are going to ask if you can use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs for this Lemongrass Chicken – and the answer is yes! I chose chicken thighs because they are more commonly used in authentic Lemongrass Chicken, are inherently juicier and reheat better but chicken breasts will still work.
If you choose to use chicken breasts then I would pound the to an even thickness before marinating. If your chicken breasts are extra large, then slice them through the equator to create fillets.
How to Serve Lemongrass Chicken
Lemongrass Chicken is divine just with a hot side of rice, zoodles or cauliflower rice and some stir fried or fresh veggies. It would also be delicious in a wrap, or on top of a salad.
You can also make a Lemongrass Chicken Stir Fry by slicing your chicken before you marinate it. If you do this, then I wouldn’t marinate the chicken longer than 8 hours.
But my favorite way to serve Lemongrass Chicken is in my Lemongrass Chicken Rice Bowls and Vietnamese Noodle Bowls – coming soon!
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