Chicken in Lemongrass and Chili


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A classic Vietnamese chicken dish with a great lemongrass fragrance. There’s a really nice sweet and savory combination with the chicken and caramel sauce. Be careful when making the caramel, though, don’t let it burn.


Caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup water


  • 3 lb chicken
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili
  • 4 tablespoon Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon caramel sauce
  • 1 cup water


For the caramel sauce:
1. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in heavy saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking until mixture begins to change color.
3. Turn heat to low and cook until browned. Add 1/2 cup water to mixture. Remove from heat and store in a jar in the refrigerator.

For the chicken:
1. Rinse chicken, dry well, and cut into small pieces; peel garlic and slice finely; and cut onion into 1/2 inch strips. 
4. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, garlic, and onion. 
5. Fry over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add lemongrass and chili. 
6. Fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add fish sauce, sugar and caramel sauce, mixing well. 
7. Add 1 cup of water and cook 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Serve hot with caramel sauce .

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