Dinner Tonight: Chicken Stir-Fried with Lemongrass and Chile Recipe


I've been on a little lemongrass kick lately, so I was excited about this recipe from Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen from the very beginning, even if the title made it sound relatively straightforward. But something happens during the cooking process to those innocent looking chicken hunks, because by the end they start tasting an awful lot like glistening bits of fatty pork. Which is to say, they start tasting really, really good.

I'm going to thank the coconut milk for this transformation, which is reduced down until it coats the chicken pieces in a silky and luxurious sauce. That sauce is also well seasoned thanks to the curry powder, fragrant from the lemongrass, and just slightly spicy. Two Thai chiles add a mysterious background of heat that never becomes too oppressive, and the red bell pepper adds a much needed splash of color. With something this flavorful, some basic white rice is all you need on the side.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ⅓ cup)

  • 1 to 2 Thai chiles or serranos, finely chopped

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

  • 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into ¾-inch squares

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped


  1. In a large bowl, add the chicken, salt, sugar, curry powder, and fish sauce. Toss until the chicken pieces are evenly coated. Set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 15 minutes and as much as an hour – whatever you have time for.

  2. When chicken is done marinating, remove from the fridge. Pour the oil into a large wok or skillet set over high heat. When just about ready to smoke, add the shallot, chiles, and lemongrass. Stir-fry until very fragrant, about one minute. Add the chicken and red bell pepper. Stir well, and then let the chicken pieces cook undisturbed until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, flip the chicken pieces, and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about another minute.

  3. Pour in the coconut milk and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut milk has almost completely evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. The fat in the coconut milk will just start to separate.

  4. Transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with cilantro. Serve with white rice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
342 Calories
22g Fat
10g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 768mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 50mg 250%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 567mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)