How to make easy, aromatic Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken with Nuoc Cham sauce.
This is an incredibly healthy meal that is bursting with flavours! Although this looks like a lot of different components, they all put together very quickly. I can get this entire dish on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
The main centerpiece of this dish is the lemongrass chicken. The marinade here is extremely easy and minimal in ingredients!
Lemongrass: The key ingredient here is the lemongrass. To prepare lemongrass, we are just using the white inner core of the lemongrass. To prepare this, refer my post on how to prepare lemongrass for cooking.
Fish Sauce: This adds salt and that delicious umami. You can replace with light soy sauce, but the flavour is simply not the same. Fish sauce would be best, and true to the Vietnamese flavours.
Lime Juice: This adds a delicious tang to the chicken.
Brown Sugar: This helps to caramelise the chicken while balancing out the flavours here. Easily replaceable with regular sugar.
I like to marinade this overnight for best results.
How to Cook Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
The best thing about this chicken is how versatile it is! You can prepare the chicken anyway you like, pan frying over the stovetop, roasting in the oven or airfryer or grilling it. Grilling would be the most authentic – in Vietnam, these are grilled over charcoal.
My favourite method would be to roast it in the oven for hands-off cooking. While it’s roasting, I can prepare the rest of my meals. If roasting in the oven, set the oven to broil at the last 10 minutes to get that gorgeous char over the chicken skin.
It’s up to you to wipe off the lemongrass bits off the chicken before cooking it. I personally never found the need to – you can eat those! If chopped thinly, it would not be an unpleasant experience at all.
Nuoc Cham – The Spicy, Tangy Vietnamese Sauce
I consider the Vietnamese sauce, or Nuoc Cham an important component in the dish. Without the sauce, I find that this dish can be plain tasting, especially since we are using plenty of raw vegetables and carbs.
The sauce comes together incredibly easily. It uses essentially the same ingredients as the chicken marinade, so you can make it concurrently. The sauce is spicy, but feel free to omit if you need a mild sauce. ‘Mild’ is an understatement; you’ll still be able to enjoy the sweet, sour and garlicky sauce all the same!
The Nuoc Cham can be served immediately, but I recommend that you allow the flavours to develop for at least 30 minutes! After combining the ingredients, pop it in the fridge to develop.
What to Serve Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken With?
You can serve this as is, but it’s quintessential Asian to have this with some carbs! I like to have this with some rice, or with vermicelli rice noodles which is more Vietnamese.
To prepare the rice vermicelli noodles for this, simply pour hot water on dry rice vermicelli. Allow the rice vermicelli to soak for just 10 minutes, before draining away the hot water. Run cold water through the noodles to prevent them from cooking further and to stop them from sticking.
I love how clean and healthy this dish is too because it is served with raw vegetables. The standard raw vegetables here would be carrots, lettuce, beansprouts and cucumbers. Feel free to use any other raw vegetable of choice. If you want to cook these instead, you can – do note it’ll be different from the Vietnamese palate, which favours a fresh and healthy profile more.
Most importantly, serve this with fresh herbs, namely mint leaves and cilantro! It’s simply does not hit the same without the fresh herbs.
More Recipes Like This
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Bowl with Nuoc ChamCourse: Recipes
- Lemongrass Chicken
400g Chicken or 2 Chicken Thighs or Breasts
2 lemongrass, white inner core, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsps lime juice
- Nuoc Cham
4 tbsps fish sauce
2 tbsps vinegar
2 tbsps lime juice
2 tbsps sugar
2 tsps garlic cloves
2 stalks birds eye chillies
2 tbsps water
- Serve With
Rice or Rice Vermicelli
- Making Nuoc Cham
- Make Nuoc Cham sauce first by combining the ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste preference. Keep in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let flavours develop.
- Making the Lemongrass Chicken
- Prepare lemongrass by cutting off the tops and bottoms. Remove the tough outer layer and smash the lemongrass to release the flavours. Slice it thinly.
- Combine the ingredients for the marinade and massage onto chicken. Allow to marinade for 20 minutes, best overnight.
- Roast chicken in pre-heated oven at 180°C/356°F for 20 minutes or when chicken is cooked through. Then set the oven to broil on high at 220°C for 5 to 10 minutes, or when chicken has browned to preference.
- Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Add rice or rice vermicelli to bowl. Arrange raw vegetables and fresh herbs and top with lemongrass chicken. Serve with Nuoc Cham sauce.