This tasty stir fried lemongrass chicken is a delicious dish, with an array of complex flavors that tantalize the taste buds. This is one of our go-to recipes when we’re craving something that tastes as good as takeout.
The addition of hot peppers makes this dish even better, as it adds the spicy kick we so often crave here in the Pepper Geek house! The use of several aromatic spices and the perfect combination of ingredients gives this dish a unique taste that will leave you wanting more.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This is an easy yet “kind of fancy” meal that makes for really good leftovers.
- All of the ingredients are relatively easy to find.
- It’s a flavorful blend of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors (all of our favorites).
- The peppers add a nice kick to the dish without overpowering it. But, you can always reduce the amount of spice to suit your tastes.
- Lemongrass adds a layer of complex flavor that cannot be found in many other dishes.
- The combination of ingredients creates a meal that can be enjoyed by everyone – even picky eaters find a way to love it!
- It only takes about 30 minutes to make, so you don’t have to spend all night in the kitchen which is really nice.
- It can be scaled up to feed more people, or to have more delicious leftovers.
Ingredients needed for this lemongrass chicken stir fry
Lemongrass Chicken Sauce
● 3 tbsp fish sauce
● 3 tbsp sugar
● 2 tsp oyster sauce
● 2 stalks lemongrass
● 3 cloves garlic
● 3–4 Thai chilis
● ½ shallot, minced
Chicken and Base Dish
● 16 ounces chicken thigh (boneless, skinless)
● 2 cups cooked white rice – for serving
● Cucumber – for garnish
● Cilantro – for garnish
● Sweet Thai chili sauce (optional) – for dipping
How to make spicy lemongrass chicken stir fry
Step 1: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and trim off the excess fat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Cut the lemongrass into thin slices until the purple rings disappear (this is where all the flavor is!). Start at the bottom end of the stalks (the larger side) and work your way up.
Step 3: Add the sliced lemongrass and garlic into a mortar and pestle and pound until at a paste-like consistency. Mince the shallots and Thai chilies and combine them with the other aromatics.
Alternatively, use a food processor to mince up all of the aromatic ingredients – this saves some time.
Step 4: In a bowl, combine sugar, fish sauce, and oyster sauce.
Step 5: Heat 1-2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Step 6: Add the aromatics into the skillet, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Step 7: Add the liquid sauce mixture into the skillet, coating the chicken pieces thoroughly. Cook for 1-2 minutes more or until the sauce is thickened, scraping up any browned bits from the pan.
Step 8: Remove from heat and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with rice and sliced cucumbers. Add a side of sweet chili sauce for dipping if desired (it’s tasty with or without this!).
How many Thai chilies should I use?
Thai chilies are quite spicy despite their small size. Here is a general guide for the number of chilies to use to reach the desired spice level. Be aware that spiciness varies in Thai chili types, so the best way to test the spice level is to taste-test and adjust!
- Mild spice: Use 1-2
- Medium spice: 3-4 chilies
- Very spicy: 5+ chilies
How do I cut lemongrass?
Use the bottom half white part (thicker end) of the lemongrass and slice until the purple rings begin to fade. This is where all the best flavor is and it is tender rather than fibrous. Save the top parts for stocks and stews.
What if I don’t have a mortar and pestle?
If you’d rather not use a mortar and pestle, you can mince the lemongrass using a knife. Or, use a food processor to quickly mince up all of the aromatic ingredients. The mortar and pestle can release bursts of flavor from the lemongrass that a knife is not able to achieve so I would recommend looking into getting one!
- Be sure to wear gloves when handling Thai chilis. The spice will transfer to your skin and can result in an unpleasant surprise if you rub your eyes after handling them.
- Serve the dish with a side of sweet thai chili sauce. You can find this sauce at most major grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s. Or, you can make your own if you have the time. The dish is excellent without the dipping sauce, but it can add another touch of flavor to the meal.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Chili variations – Thai chili is very spicy and may not be for everyone. It may also be a little trickier to find. You can sub with Fresno chilis, dried Thai chilis, fresh cayenne peppers, or any chili of your choice.
- Sub oyster sauce for soy sauce – You can use 1 tsp of soy sauce instead of the 2 tsp of oyster sauce in this recipe. The soy sauce mixed with the sugar in this recipe will mimic the sweet and salty taste of the oyster sauce.
- Substitutes for Shallots – Yellow onion or red onion can also work.
- Sugar types – Either white or brown sugar works.
Spicy Lemongrass Chicken Stir Fry
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3-4 Thai chilies
- 1/2 shallot minced
Chicken and Base Dish
- 16 oz chicken thigh boneless, skinless
- 2 cups white rice cooked, for serving
- 1 cucumber for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
- cweet Thai chili sauce for dipping, optional
- salt & pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil for pan frying
- Cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces and trim off any excess fat. Season with salt & pepper.
- Cut lemongrass into thin slices until the purple rings disappear – this is where the flavor is!
- Add the sliced lemongrass and garlic into a mortar and pestle and pound until at a paste-like consistency. Mince the shallots and Thai chilis and combine them with the other aromatics. (Alternatively, mince all 4 aromatics in a food processor).
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, fish sauce, and oyster sauce.
- Add 1-2 tsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium-high heat. Pan fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side.
- Add the aromatics to the skillet and stir to prevent burning. Sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the liquid sauce mixture into the skillet, coating the chicken pieces thoroughly.
- Remove from heat and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with rice, sliced cucumbers, and a side of sweet chili sauce if desired.
Crystalyn loves spicy food and getting creative in the kitchen. When she isn’t finding new ways to use hot sauce, shes very busy watching cat videos on the internet.