I grew up with a very narrow sense of what constituted the varied and delicious world of Asian cuisine. In my childhood mind, all Asian food was like the Chinese American restaurant down the street. My very ignorant mind thought that dishes like Chow Mein, Orange Chicken, Beef and Broccoli were the fare of the entirety of Asia.
It wasn’t until college that I began to explore and understand the different regions and flavors of Asia. Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the bold flavors of lemongrass, fish sauce, and chili pastes. This lemongrass chicken recipe has some new flavors for those interested in Southeast Asian cuisine, but not so bold that it will scare newcomers away. It also includes some vegetables that you can find locally throughout the winter, like carrots and cabbage. The recipe is fairly versatile, so feel free to use other vegetables like bok choy, chinese broccoli, or kabocha squash.
The real star of this dish is the sweet and tangy browned chicken. To achieve this, you marinate the chicken, and then brown and saute the chicken in an oil and honey mixture. The result is sweet, salty, and delicious. This is the most requested meal by my clients, and I hope you will enjoy it too!
Lemongrass Chicken Bowls w/ Stir-Fried Winter Vegetables
For the Marinade
- 1 lb. Chicken Breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 Lemongrass Stalks
- 1 Tbsp. Ginger, grated
- ½ Tbsp. Garlic, grated
- 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
- ¼ cup Chopped Cilantro
- Squirt of Sriracha or small amount of Chili Paste
For the Chicken
- 1.5 Tbsp. Coconut Oil or Neutral Oil
- 1 Tbsp. Honey
- Additional 1-2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp. Water (if needed)
For the Vegetable Stir Fry
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut, Sesame, or Neutral Oil
- 1 1-inch Chunk of Ginger, minced
- 1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 1 Small Head Cabbage, shredded
- 4 Large Carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
- ½ Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Small Bunch Scallions, chopped
- Sriracha to taste
- Dash of Fish Sauce
- 1-2 cups of Cooked Jasmine Rice
- Chopped Scallions
- Sesame Seeds or Chopped Cashews
- Lime Wedges
- To make the chicken marinade, bruise the lemongrass with a mallet until it becomes fragrant, and chop the stalks into 4 or 5 sections. Add all of the marinade items to a bowl including the chicken and mix to combine. Marinate for 2-8 hours in the refrigerator.
- Remove the chicken and marinade from the oven and blot dry with a paper towel. In a large stainless pan, heat 1.5 Tbsp. coconut oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, drizzle in the honey around the pan. Swirl the honey and coconut oil together around the pan until the honey begins to brown. Once the honey is brown, drop in each piece of chicken and arrange in a single layer, making sure the chicken pieces don’t overlap. Sear the bottom side of the chicken for about 1 minute, or until the underside of the chicken is brown and caramelized. Flip the chicken pieces and allow to cook for another 1 minute. If the chicken is browning too much or the pan is beginning to burn, add 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon of water to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium heat and shake the pan a bit so loosen up the chicken, stirring occasionally and picking up any of the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Once the chicken reads 165 degrees with the thermometer, remove the pan from the heat and place the chicken and sauce on a plate.
- In the same pan, heat oil, ginger, and shallot on medium heat. Once fragrant, add the garlic and stir. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce and continue to stir. Add the carrots and allow to brown for about a minute, stirring occasionally. If the bottom of the pan is beginning to burn, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the heat to medium high heat and add in the cabbage, tossing frequently. Add the remaining soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a dash of fish sauce and some heat (either sriracha or chili paste). Continue tossing until both the carrots and cabbage are tender, remove from the heat, and toss in scallions. In a bowl, arrange jasmine rice, veggies, and lemongrass chicken. Garnish with more scallions, a wedge of lime and sesame seeds or chopped cashews, and feel free to add more sriracha or chili paste to fit your taste.
This story was originally published in January 2017.