Saturday, 18 January 2014

Lemongrass Chilli Chicken

This is a Vietnamese recipe called Ga xao xa ot. It is a coconut milk-based curry using lemongrass, garlic and chilli - it was a lot lighter but also a lot spicier than the tomato-based Indian curries I usually make. I chose this recipe so I could take part in this month's Bloggers Around the World challenge, as the country this month is Vietnam.

I'm lucky enough to have been to Vietnam at someone else's expense - I used to be a financial journalist on one of the biggest newspapers in the UK. I wrote about insurance companies, among other things, and one company decided to take two leading (ahem) journalists to visit its Asian operations. So in my 20s I found myself flying business class to Hong Kong and Vietnam. Unfortunately I don't remember much about the food I ate there at all. It was a whirlwind trip - two days in Hong Kong visiting the company's office there and meeting with various people, and no sightseeing but I did squeeze in afternoon tea at our hotel (I was far too jet lagged for sightseeing anyway, I recall!). Then we flew to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for two days, for more meetings but this time we also got taken to a market where I bought a handbag and to the War Museum which was fascinating - the Vietnam war told from the perspective of the Vietnamese. This would have been in 2006 I think... eight years ago is a long time when you are trying to remember what meals you ate. I do remember my first ever time doing karaoke was in a bar in Hong Kong with the journalist who accompanied me on the trip, watched by a very bemused PR from the company we were out there visiting!

Still, I enjoy Asian food of all varieties and it was a nice opportunity to browse the internet for Vietnamese dishes. I found this recipe for lemongrass chilli chicken on an Australian website called SBS. I adapted the recipe to use coconut milk instead of 'young coconut juice', whatever that is.

 To serve two, you need:

40 ml fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 long red chilli, finely diced, or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
300g mini chicken fillets
20 ml vegetable oil
100 ml coconut milk
1/4 onion, cut into wedges

Mix the fish sauce and sugar and finely chop the lemongrass - I found it easiest to do this by snipping with scissors. Crush the garlic and mix with the chopped chilli or chilli flakes and mix in with the fish sauce, sugar and lemongrass.

Mix with the chicken and leave to marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and tip the chicken and the marinade into the pan. Fry the chicken and the chopped onion until cooked.

When the chicken is cooked, stir in the coconut milk so it is combined with the other ingredients. Heat through until it has reduced a little.

I served this with rice and green veg though you could also serve it with noodles.

I'm sending this to Chris at Cooking Around the World for the challenge Bloggers Around the World, as the country this month is Vietnam.


  1. coconut currys are my absolutely favourite curry's.. this looks really special... very nice for a gloomy saturday x

  2. Ah, those work trips. Some get to all those fascinating places and get no chance to see much, but just do work ... not that I have to do those trips. Anyway, you brought us some lovely flavours here, too. Thanks, for joining!
    Do you have leftover lemongrass? Last time I had, I planted the remaining stalks in a pot and let it grow for a few weeks or months.

  3. FYI, SBS is an Australian TV channel. It's the free-to-air channel that is the "multi-cultural" channel, as it airs Australian and global news is various languages as well as shows and movies from various countries, as well as shows about various countries. There is a big focus on food on SBS, and they have some great shows about food from various countries around the world.

  4. SBS is the Australian multi-cultural channel, and airs the news in various languages, as well as shows and movies from different countries as well as shows about various countries. There's a big focus on food, and they have some great shows on food from different countries. There's a young Australian-Vietnamese chef called Luke Nguyen who hosts some great shows on Vietnamese cooking and culture you should check out.


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