‘Blast From the Past Recipe’

Vietnamese Lemon Grass and Chilli Chicken (Serves 4)

Although the April weather has been rather wet, I figured that is was the right time to re-share this recipe as its flavours are perfect for the sunnier days which we must be expecting soon…!

Vietmanese Lemon Grass and Chilli Chickent is one of those recipes which is instantly comforting, it has the most wonderful combination of hot, sour, salty and sweet flavours. The fact that it is particularly quick and easy to cook makes it even more comforting – just remember to marinate it for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before cooking. Simply serve with rice. This is another fantastic recipe from Diana Henry’s cookbook, ‘A Bird in Hand’.

800g skinless boneless chicken thighs

2 lemon grass stalks

4 tablespoons fish sauce

2½ tablespoons caster sugar, to taste

2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons groundnut or sunflower oil

1 onion, halved and sliced thinly into half-moon shaped slices

125ml chicken stock

Juice of ½-1 lime, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

½ tablespoon sesame seeds to serve (optional)

  1. Trim any fat from the chicken thighs and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Remove the coarse outer layers from the lemon grass, trim the top and base, and chop the rest as finely as you can. Put half of this into a bowl with the fish sauce, caster sugar, the garlic, half the chillies and the chopped chicken. Mix together and cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours – overnight is best. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok set over a medium heat. Add the chicken and cook it on all sides, browning it well. Add the onion, give it a good stir before adding the remaining chillies and lemongrass, stir fry until the onion starts to soften, being careful not to burn the chillies and lemongrass. Pour in the stock then reduce the heat, cover and allow the chicken to cook for about five minutes.
  4. Remove the lid, increase the heat and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced. You want the mixture to be wetter than a stir-fry but not too saucy. Add the lime juice, then check the seasoning for the sweet-sour balance – adding more sugar or lime to taste.
  5. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves and sesame seeds, serve with rice.

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