Lemon Grass Chicken with Chilli

The use of lemon grass with chilli can transform any ordinary chicken into a special treat. The aromatic oils from the lemon grass when used as a marinade and later cooked, give the dish a wonderful citrus scent as well as a subtle taste. Here it is paired with chilli powder or fakes for an explosive combination you are sure to enjoy. This dish re-heats well and goes with plain rice.


  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli powder or flakes

For the Marinade

  • 2 stalks fresh lemon grass
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


Cut the chicken into 2.5-cm (1-in) pieces.

Peel the lemon grass stalk to reveal the tender, whitish centre and crush it with the flat of a knife. Then cut it into 7.5-cm (3-in) pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the lemon grass, garlic, pepper, fish sauce and sugar. Allow it to marinate at room temperature for 40 minutes.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken pieces and the marinade ingredients and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown. Remove the chicken from the wok with a slotted spoon and drain.

Drain off all the oil and fat and re-heat the wok, without wiping. When it is hot, return the chicken to the wok, add the fish sauce, sugar and chilli powder or flakes. Continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Serve at once.