Chicken with Lemongrass


This is another recipe from Charmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook which is this month’s feature cookbook on The Cook Book Guru.  It is a recipe I make regularly.  The only reason it has not featured on Passion Fruit Garden before is that the photos I have taken of the dish have left a lot to be desired.  I am not particularly enamoured with the head photo but …. 

This recipe is from the Vietnamese chapter of Charmaine’s book.

Now, before we start, I need to advise that I have modified the recipe somewhat.  The recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut into Chinese-style pieces, to be marinated in the lemongrass, spring onion, salt and pepper and then cooked in a wok.  But this just doesn’t work for me.  I find that by the time the chicken pieces are cooked, the lemongrass and spring onions are burnt.  I also don’t find the wings and drumsticks work as part of a stir-fry.   

The thing that is interesting about this recipe is that, despite my initial issues, I have made it time and time again because I love the combination of flavours: peanuts, lemongrass and coriander.

Serves 2-3


  • 4 chicken thighs, either on the bone or filleted. (I still can’t work out what is best for this recipe.  In the photo above, I used thighs on the bone but, to be honest, the cut-up bits of bone and skin were a bit annoying.  Next time, I am going for skinless thigh fillets.  Over time, I have tried all bits of the chicken and I still don’t really know which I prefer.)
  • 2-4 stems lemongrass, thinly sliced, white part only (If you have the small pieces you get from the supermarket, use four.  If you have long stems from an Asian market, you may find two is enough.)
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs* oil
  • 2 fresh red chillies, seeded and chopped (if you like a bit of heat, leave the seeds in)
  • 70g roasted peanuts, finely chopped, plus extra for decoration
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs* fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup chopped coriander (This is not in the original recipe but I really like it.  It really adds to the flavour.  I always include it.)

*These are 20 mil tablespoons.


  1. If you have chicken thigh on the bone: using a cleaver, chop each thigh into three pieces.  If using fillets: chop into 2.5cm square pieces.
  2. Bruise the sliced lemongrass using a mortar and pestle or give it a whizz in your food processor.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok or large, heavy-based frying pan.
  5. Add the chicken and stir-fry until about half cooked.
  6. Add the lemongrass, cook for a minute or two.
  7. Add the spring onions, cook for a minute or two.
  8. Add the chillies and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked.
  9. Add the peanuts, coriander & sugar.
  10. Add the fish sauce and stir well, making sure everything is combined.
  11. Serve with rice or noodles and decorated, if you wish, with a few peanuts and a coriander leaf or two.

29 thoughts on “Chicken with Lemongrass

  1. I love your comment about the photo! It looks great I promise you. I’m struggling with a really ugly photo of the Cambodian pork I cooked for the challenge but it tasted divine! I will just have to suck it up and post it.

    • Hi Nancy, Photos, photos, photos, they are bane of a blogger’s life. I think curry is the hardest to make look enticing, yet it is the yummiest!

  2. Looks good to me. I know what you mean about not posting a recipe because of the photos. Some things just taste so good but don’t look like anything people run out to try. I remember making these delicious little milk chocolate bites sprinkled with confectioners sugar & when I put them on the table my daughter & husband thought I’d been down to the cat litter box.
    This looks good & I love the sound of the flavor combination. Going to have to look into growing some lemongrass since I never see it in the stores much.

    • Hi Diane, Your way may be too cold for lemongrass. Don’t your Asian markets sell it or aren’t there any Asian markets close by? All things Asian are pretty easy to get in Australia. You can even get lemongrass in Bridgetown.

      • We don’t have many Asian markets although some of the better supermarkets have Asian sections. If it’s something that sprouts fast I could probably get some in before the snow flies in the winter & maybe move it indoors. I grow basil indoors throughout the year – not as bushy or hardy as the ones outside, but it gets me through the winter. My biggest problem with bringing plants indoors is my curious animals. My cat ate entire pot of chives! Now what cat eats chives?

          • Now that he’d probably reject! Plus he’s crazy enough. He had to have surgery because or urinary blockage & the vet wants him on more of a wet diet. Went out & bought expensive Fancy Feast, people tuna, people chicken…nope – don’t want that. But chives that’s great stuff.

            • Dogs and cats eat grass, it obviously regulates something in their system. It maybe because of all that snow, he is not getting his fair share of grass and chives were all that was being offered. At our local nursery, I noticed they were a selling grass. On the label, it said it contained all the nutrients dogs and cats need from grass. Maybe you should get an indoor grass plant and see if he likes that.

  3. I love the combination of flavours too, and I just happen to now have a spare pot on my nothing-much-grows-on-it balcony but I think lemongrass being so tough might have a chance.

    • Hi Ella, I have lemongrass growing for just the same reason. Make sure you get the nice white one though, mine is darker and doesn’t get the nice thick stalks. I think it is a different variety.

  4. Hi Glenda – I made something similar to this last night, from a Nigel Slater recipe. It was a chicken and mushroom stir fry, with lemongrass, coriander, fish sauce, chili, etc. I added some red capsicum because we had some to be used up, and it added a spot of colour. It uses diced chicken, I used chicken thigh fillets, and it was yum.

  5. Love Charmaine Solomon, Glenda, but also really like your comments on the original recipe. Not all old recipes work…. I make something similar from a Luke Nguyen recipe. The flavours are great, especially if chilli is added!

  6. I shall try this when I defrost my next batch of chicken thighs. I do prefer thighs as I think they are tastier than breast. I love anything with peanuts so it’s a winner for me!

  7. Lovely combination of flavours. I think purely for convenience, I would use skinless boneless chicken breasts for this (a bit lazy I guess) and skip the peanuts. I love peanuts but not in food as a friend of Pete’s cooked everything with loads of peanut butter so I have been put off hot peanut anything. I could easily increase the coriander as it is my favourite herb.
    Have a super weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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