There’s more than one way to cook Vietnamese lemongrass chili chicken. I have one version in the archive and this one, cooked by my husband, Speedy, has sweet fresh coconut juice. Not sweetened coconut juice but the naturally sweet juice of young coconut.
Inspired by a recipe from Luke Nguyen (whom Speedy and I both admire tremendously), the key to making a tasty lemongrass chicken with coconut juice is to marinate the chicken thigh fillets overnight to give them time lots of time to soak up the aromas and flavors in the marinade.
The level of heat can be adjusted by using less chilies or by opting for a milder variety. Bird’s eye chili is the most common in Southeast Asia but you can use whatever is locally grown in your area. Chilies are added both to the marinade and sauce so remember to taste, taste and taste to make sure that the heat in both the marinade and sauce is just right.
Lemongrass Chili Chicken With Coconut Juice
- 300 grams chicken thigh fillets
For the marinade:
- Pat the chicken thigh fillets dry with paper towels. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- Make the marinade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces, mix well and make sure to work that marinade into the meat. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge overnight.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute the lemongrass, garlic, chilies and shallots until aromatic and lightly browned.
- Add the chicken with all the marinade and cook over high heat on both sides until the edges start to turn light brown.
- Pour in the coconut water. Cover the pan. Cook over medium heat for five minutes.
- Add the scallions and cook for another minute until the sauce is thick and reduced. Taste and add more fish sauce, if needed.
- Serve the lemongrass chili chicken with coconut juice at once. It goes well with rice.
Use only the lower portion of the lemongrass stalks and remember to remove and discard the outer layers.
For an illustration, see the post about lemongrass.