Your One Way Ticket Out of Boring Chicken Snoozeville

You’ll adore this dish, Chinese Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, where the chicken is mellow, with a balance of sweet, spicy, garlicky, and salty flavors laced with an undertone of lemongrass. No particular flavor is overpowering, unless of course, like me, you have a heavy hand with the chiles. Long a fan of fresh lemongrass, whenever I see a recipe calling for this ingredient, I am immediately drawn to it. And since we’ve been trying a new recipe each week from Russ’ new cookbook Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, by chef author Grace Young, this one stopped me in my tracks, or more precisely, stopped me from turning the pages.

When buying fresh lemongrass, select plump stalks with no signs of dryness—sometimes easier said than done—your best bet is an Asian market. Make sure to peel away the tough outer layers of the stalks until you reach the tender portion, which is the most flavorful part.

In retrospect, since we prefer lots of veggies in our stir-fries, next time I’ll add some chopped red and yellow peppers, and/or maybe some sliced carrots, not only giving the dish more visual appeal, but also tipping the scale toward healthier. And the recipe only called for 1 pound of chicken, but we had a package of 1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs—didn’t seem to matter.

Yup, another winner from Gracie!


  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breast, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. plus 2 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tender parts minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. monced garlic
  • 2 tsp. chopped jalapeño chiles, with seeds
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Starting to stir-fry the chicken thigh strips.

Next, stir-fry the lemongrass, garlic and chiles.

Add the chicken and its juices back to the wok.


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, cornstarch, salt and pepper.Sitr to combine. stir in 1 teaspoon of oil.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine the fish sauce and chicken broth.
  3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok, or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil, carefully add the chicken, and spread it evenly in one layer. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute.
  4. Using a metal spatula, stir-fry 1 minute until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  5. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add the lemongrass, garlic and chiles, and stir-fry over medium heat  for 10 seconds or until aromatics are fragrant.
  6. Add the onions and stir-fry for 1 minute or until the onions start to brown.
  7. return the chicken with any juices that have accumulated to the wok and increase the heat to high.
  8. Swirl the broth mixture into the wok, sprinkle on the brown sugar, and stir-fry about 2 minutes or until the chicken id just cooked through.
  9. Serve over white or brown Jasmati rice.


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