Chicken Stir-Fry with Lemongrass, Tamarind and Chilies

Gà Xào Xả Ớt


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as part of multi-dish meal

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

Homes across Vietnam are filled with the sound of sizzling woks, filled with this quick chicken stir-fry. Lemongrass perfumes the spicy chili sauce. Pair it with other dishes for a balanced meal, as not many vegetables are included. If you are looking for more of a one-pot meal, toss in some chopped baby bok choy, maybe some bell peppers... be creative. Just make sure to add more of all of the seasonings to compensate for the additional ingredients.


  • 1 lb. (454 g.) Chicken thigh meat (bonelss/skinless), bite size strips, about ½ inch (1.3 cm.) thick
  • 4 tsp. Fish sauce, (nước mắm) (divided use)
  • ½ tsp. Coarsely Ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 Thai bird chilies, minced
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and finely minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 1 small Onion, sliced into 2-inch (5 cm.) lengths, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm.) thick
  • 1 tbsp. Vietnamese caramel sauce or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Tamarind pulp
  • ¼ cup Chicken broth or stock
  • ¼ cup Roughly chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)


  1. Marinate chicken in 2 tsp. fish sauce, black pepper, chilies, lemongrass, and garlic for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan (10 to 12 inch or 25 to 30 cm.) or wok over high heat; add oil and onions. Cook until translucent and begining to brown. Add chicken; stir occasionally until almost completely cooked, about 5 minutes. Add fish sauce, caramel sauce, tamarind, and chicken broth. Simmer 15 seconds; taste and adjust sauce with fish sauce and caramel.
  3. Stir in cilantro, and remove from heat. Serve over steamed rice.