When it comes to weeknight chicken dinners, I think Asian stir fry dishes are up at the top. If you have the ingredients, they are usually quick and easy to put together and make the best leftover dishes. Today’s recipe, Thai Lemongrass Chicken, is my 2nd go-to Asian weeknight dinner recipe that I put on our weekly rotation during this time of the year.
It is hot outside and most days I don’t feel like spending too much time in front of the stove. My solution to that problem is usually to make salads, but sometimes we need a break from all things green and need some substance in our stomach. This dish, in that context, checks all the boxes.
Thai Lemongrass Chicken Recipe
This recipe has two folds. First, you make lemongrass paste and let your chicken marinate in it for 10-15 minutes. Second, you cook the chicken and top it off with all the goodies, which I am going to get to in a few minutes.
If you look at the recipe below, at first glance you might think that the ingredients list is long. While I agree with the fact that Asian cooking requires an initial ingredient investment, once you have the basics (i.e. rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, fresh ginger, lemongrass, sesame oil etc.) in your fridge, they last a long time. I buy almost every one of these ingredients from Trader Joe’s as I find their prices to be most economical.
Additionally, if you can’t get your hands on lemongrass or don’t want to deal with peeling it, I recommend using Gourmet Garden Lemongrass. As a matter of fact, I no longer bother with buying fresh lemongrass as I find this to be a much quicker and convenient alternative. They usually sell it in the herb section in grocery stores.
With that being said, the recipe below has instructions for both types of lemongrass.
The Crunch Factor AKA Toppings
In my opinion, what makes this lemongrass chicken recipe is the last minute addition of edamame beans and cashews. They add a little bit more protein as well as crunch into the overall dish.
I also topped it off with some scallions, hot chili pepper (totally optional), and sesame seeds, which are usual classic toppings for most Asian stir fry dishes such as this Sweet and Sour Stir Fry.
Similar recipes you might also like:
- Spicy Thai Beef Salad
- Sweet Potato ‘Noodle’ Pad Thai
- Thai Vegetable Quinoa Bowl – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Slow Cooker Thai Beef Curry
- Curry Tomato Soup
- Chicken Veggie Soup
- Weeknight Ramen Bowl
- Need more inspiration? Check out all our Asian Inspired recipes.
- Thai Beef Curry
- Coconut Salmon Soup
Thai Lemongrass Chicken Recipe
- 2 lbs. chicken thigh meat cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
For the Lemongrass Chicken Marinade/paste:
- 2 stalks of lemongrass chopped (inner white parts only) or 1 1/2 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Lemongrass
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2- inch ginger peeled and cut into small pieces (1 tablespoon grated ginger)
- 1 serrano chile seeded and minced (optional) – more as garnish
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil divided
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken stock only used if necessary, for more info please read the notes
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup edamame shelled
- 2 stalks of scallions green and white parts chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds optional
To Serve With:
- 4 cups cooked white brown rice, or rice noodles
- Using paper towels, pat-dry the chicken thigh pieces. Place in a medium bowl.
- Process lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili, honey, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, fish sauce, and rice vinegar in a food processor until they are well blended and paste-like.
- Toss the chicken with the lemongrass paste. Cover it with stretch film and place it in the fridge. Let it marinade for 15 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a wok or large pan (you can also use a 10-inch cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
- Stir in the soy sauce into the chicken mixture and give it a stir.
- Cook the chicken thigh pieces for 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned. (see note)
- If it dries and starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add in some chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes. Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken stock is reduced.
- Add in the cashews and mix until they are coated with the sauce. It will start getting caramelized.
- Stir in edamame at the last minute. Cook until warm, 3-4 minutes.
- Serve with rice and garnish it with chopped serrano chili (if using), scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
- When cooking the chicken, make sure that each piece have enough room to brown. If your pan is small, I’d recommend to cook the chicken into batches. You want to make sure that your chicken is throughly cooked before adding in the edamame and cashews.
- In terms of chicken meat, I used thighs as I find them to be more flavorful but if breasts are all you have, feel free to use breast meat instead.
- If you want to switch things up, you can swap edamame and cashews with snow peas and peanuts.
- You can make the chicken stir fry marinade a day (or two) ahead and keep it in a jar in the fridge.
This recipe was first published in 2014. It has been updated with new photos, a quick video and a few updates on the recipe.