Stir-Fried Lemongrass Chicken

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Marinating the chicken for a few hours allows the spicy flavors to meld into the poultry. Be sure to get the wok and oil really hot to help give the chicken a nice crisp crust. Serve this dish with steamed rice and garnish with basil for a fresh bite and colorful contrast.


  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white portion only, chopped
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbs. roughly chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into
      1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce  
  • 1 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar  
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. torn fresh basil leaves


In a mini food processor, combine the lemongrass, shallots, ginger, garlic, chile, salt and 1 Tbs. of the oil and process until a smooth paste forms. Add 1 to 2 Tbs. water if needed to facilitate the grinding. Transfer the marinade to a large sealable plastic bag, add the chicken and seal the bag. Turn the bag and gently massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, pepper and 2 Tbs. water. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large fry pan over medium-high heat, then swirl in 2 Tbs. of the oil. Add the onion and stir-fry until tender and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the onion to a bowl. Set the pan aside.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Return the wok to high heat and swirl in the remaining 2 Tbs. oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, working in batches if needed, add the chicken and stir-fry until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Return the onion to the wok. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until the sauce thickens and the chicken is opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the chicken among individual bowls, sprinkle with the basil and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cook Good Food (Weldon Owen, 2014).

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