It’s been said that cooking is an art and baking is a science, but I think Vietnamese cuisine falls somewhere in between. The bold flavors and assertive spices of traditional Vietnamese dishes require careful technique, but also room for creativity and experimentation.
As a chef specializing in Asian cuisine, I’ve developed a love of Vietnamese cooking over the years. The tangy lime juice, fragrant lemongrass and spicy chilies all work together to create harmonious and complex dishes that are truly irresistible.
And today, I’m excited to share with you my recipe for Vietnamese chicken. This dish is super easy to make, but packs a serious flavor punch. Tender juicy chicken is coated in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and spices like garlic and ginger before being baked or grilled to perfection.
With options for both lemongrass chicken and caramelized chicken variations, this dish is sure to become a new family favorite. And whether you serve with rice, noodles or in a flavorful salad, it’s a meal that will transport your taste buds straight to Vietnam. So let’s get started cooking!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Get ready to experience bold flavors and authentic Vietnamese cuisine with this Vietnamese Chicken Recipe. This recipe is infused with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and a blend of savory sauces that will tantalize your taste buds. Its unique combination of sweet and spicy flavors makes it the perfect meal for any occasion.
What sets this recipe apart from other chicken recipes is its versatility. Whether you prefer baked or fried chicken, or if you’re looking for a healthier option like grilled chicken, this recipe has got you covered. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like, depending on your personal taste.
Not only is this recipe super easy to make, but it’s also easy to customize according to your preferences. Do you prefer chicken thighs over boneless chicken breasts? No problem! Want to add some Vietnamese noodles or rice to create a complete meal? Absolutely!
The best part about this recipe is that it results in tender, juicy chicken that’s packed with flavor. It’s perfect for family dinners, game day parties or even as a delightful addition to your weekly meal prep.
In summary, if you’re looking for an authentic and delicious Vietnamese-inspired dish that’s easy to make and fully customizable, then this Vietnamese Chicken Recipe is for you!
- Boneless chicken breasts: 2 lbs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Onion: 1 large, chopped
- Garlic cloves: 4, minced
- Lemongrass: 2 stalks, crushed
- Vietnamese fish sauce: ¼ cup
- Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
- Sugar: ¼ cup
- Brown sugar: ¼ cup
- Water: ½ cup
- Olive oil: 3 tablespoons
- Vietnamese chili garlic sauce: 1 tablespoon
- Rice vinegar: 1 tablespoon
- Lime juice: 1/4 cup
- Fresh ginger root: 1½ inches, peeled and sliced thinly
For this recipe, you can use either boneless chicken thighs or breasts. If you prefer a darker meat with more flavor, I recommend using chicken thighs instead. Chicken thighs will make the dish more savory and succulent while chicken breasts will have a more neutral taste.
Lemongrass is one of the staple herbs used in Vietnamese cooking. It has a citrusy taste and adds a light lemon fragrance to the dish. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass at your local grocery store, you can use lemongrass paste or dried lemongrass instead.
Vietnamese fish sauce:
In Vietnamese cuisine, fish sauce is known as nước mắm. It is an essential ingredient that is made from fermented fish and salt. The color of the fish sauce can range from clear to dark brown depending on the brand and ingredients used. I recommend using a high-quality Vietnamese fish sauce such as Phu Quoc or Three Crabs for optimal flavor.
The Recipe How-To
Now, let’s get into the exciting part- making the Vietnamese chicken dish!
Step 1: Preparing the Chicken and the Marinade
First things first, we need to marinate our chicken for it to absorb all the bold flavors of our Vietnamese marinade. Start by cleaning four boneless chicken breasts or eight chicken thighs, whichever you prefer. I recommend using boneless chicken breasts for this recipe because it’s easier to clean and cook. Rinse them under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Next, let’s prepare our marinade. In a mixing bowl or a blender, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 3 garlic cloves (minced), 2 tablespoons of Vietnamese lemongrass, and one teaspoon of black pepper. Mix those ingredients well together until you have smooth consistency.
Pour the marinade over the chicken breasts and rub it evenly on each piece. Cover your bowl with cling film or transfer everything into a Ziploc bag for an even coating. Refrigerate it for at least one hour or overnight.
Pro Tip: If you’re in a hurry or don’t have time to marinate the chicken overnight, then you can also use a meat tenderizer to help the marinade penetrate deeper into the meat.
Step 2: Cooking the Chicken
After marinating it overnight, take out your chicken from the fridge and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking. This helps in cooking a more evenly cooked meat.
In a skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil and sauté one chopped onion until fragrant.
Carefully place your marinated chicken pieces into your skillet and fry for about 10 minutes on both sides until golden brown. Add one tablespoon of chopped Thai chili or chili garlic sauce for a spicier taste, and cook it with the chicken for another 2-3 minutes.
We know that chicken cooks quickly, but to ensure it’s cooked through, let’s check the temperature. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) when tested with a meat thermometer.
Once cooked thoroughly, remove it from heat and let it rest for about five minutes so that the juices can redistribute back into the meat, keeping it tender juicy.
Step 3: Preparing the Caramel Sauce
While your chicken is resting, start preparing your Vietnamese caramel sauce by adding 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of rice vinegar in a small bowl. In a pan over medium heat, add one cup of white sugar and wait for it to dissolve into golden brown caramel. Make sure to stir occasionally for even browning.
Then, slowly pour in your vinegar-water mixture into
Substitutions and Variations
In cooking, substitutions and variations can help spice up a recipe or make it more accessible for your dietary needs. Here are some substitutions and variations for the Vietnamese Chicken recipe:
– Coconut oil: Instead of olive oil, try using coconut oil for a hint of tropical flavor.
– Chicken thighs: If you prefer dark meat or have boneless chicken thighs on hand, use them instead of chicken breasts.
– Lemongrass paste: If fresh lemongrass isn’t available, use lemongrass paste as a substitute. You can usually find it in the international foods section of your grocery store.
– Soy sauce fish: If you don’t have any fish sauce, soy sauce is a great substitute. However, note that fish sauce has a unique umami flavor that cannot be replicated.
– Chili garlic sauce: For an extra spicy kick, swap the red pepper flakes with chili garlic sauce.
– Brown sugar: White granulated sugar can be used instead of brown sugar if necessary.
– Lime juice: If you don’t have any limes, lemon juice is an acceptable substitute.
For vegetarians or vegans, this recipe can also be made using plant-based protein such as tofu or seitan. Simply marinate the protein in the Vietnamese lemongrass marinade before baking or frying.
Regardless of your substitutions, always remember to make the recipe your own and experiment with flavors that suit your preferences.
Serving and Pairing
Let me tell you, pairing this Vietnamese chicken recipe with the right side dishes will elevate your dining experience to a whole new level. You don’t want to miss out on this end game, folks.
For a classic and authentic serving, go for some jasmine rice. The fluffy texture of the rice will nicely complement the bold flavors of the chicken dish. If you want to add a little twist, try a coconut rice – it’s light, sweet and has a creamy texture that pairs well with the spicy lemongrass and chili garlic sauce.
If you’re in the mood for noodles, make some Vietnamese inspired lemongrass noodles. It’s super easy to make, and the zesty lemongrass flavor in each bite pairs perfectly with the flavors of the chicken.
Now let’s talk about vegetables – stir-fry some bok choy or baby bok choy for some crunch or add some green beans that are sauteed in garlic sauce. Or try your own combination of veggies – The key is to keep it simple yet bold.
If you want to take your meal up a notch, make a cucumber salad or asian slaw to cool down the spice and refresh your palate. Sliced cucumbers drenched in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce is just perfect as it awakens your taste buds with its tanginess before diving back into those bold flavors of the chicken again.
For the liquids lovers out there, serve some Tom Kha Gai soup along with your Vietnamese chicken. Tom Kha Gai soup is flavored with coconut milk, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, galangal root and lemongrass which makes for an ideal pairing.
So there you have it folks – different ways to enhance your dining experience with Vietnamese chicken recipe! Bon Appétit!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
If you are planning on making this Vietnamese chicken recipe ahead of time, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure the best possible results. First and foremost, it is important to note that marinating the chicken overnight can help to infuse it with even more bold flavors.
Once you have cooked the chicken, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When reheating, make sure to do so gently and slowly, either in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little bit of water or broth to prevent the chicken from drying out.
If you are looking for a way to give this dish a little extra kick, try serving it over coconut rice or alongside some spicy Vietnamese noodles with lemongrass. Whatever your choice may be, this flavorful and authentic Vietnamese chicken recipe is sure to impress even the most discerning taste buds!
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve the bold flavors and tender juicy chicken that characterize Vietnamese cuisine, follow these tips for the perfect result every time you make this Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe.
1. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour before cooking.
Vietnamese cuisine is known for its bold flavors, and the key to achieving them is through marinating. The longer you marinate the chicken in the mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, the more flavorful it will be.
2. Use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
Chicken thighs are juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts. They also work better with this recipe because they can absorb more marinade and won’t dry out during cooking.
3. Cook the chicken at a high temperature to get a crispy skin.
To get a crispy skin on your lemongrass chicken, cook it at a high temperature. You can either grill it over medium-high heat or bake it in the oven at 425°F for 25-30 minutes.
4. Don’t skimp on fresh ingredients.
Vietnamese cuisine relies heavily on fresh herbs like cilantro and mint to add flavor to dishes. Don’t skimp on these ingredients – they are essential to achieving authentic Vietnamese flavors.
5. Serve with rice or noodles.
Vietnamese lemongrass chicken is traditionally served with rice or noodles. The rice or noodles soak up the delicious sauce and complement the bold flavors of the dish.
6. Top with spicy chili garlic sauce if desired.
If you like your food spicy, top your lemongrass chicken with chili garlic sauce for an extra kick of heat.
By following these tips, you’ll be sure to impress your guests (or yourself) with this super easy and authentic Vietnamese dish!
In conclusion, this Vietnamese chicken recipe is a culinary adventure worth trying. From the bold flavors of lemongrass and ginger to the sweet and spicy sauce that complements the tender juicy chicken, every bite is an explosion of authentic Vietnamese goodness.
Whether baked, fried, or grilled, this recipe is super easy to make and can be adapted to suit your preferences. You can enjoy it with rice, noodles, or even in a salad. Furthermore, you can make it ahead of time and store it for when you need a quick meal.
So go ahead, take a leap of faith and try this amazing recipe! With its authentic flavors and fresh ingredients, it is sure to impress your taste buds and transport you to the streets of Vietnam. Trust me; once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked on this delicious Vietnamese chicken dish forever.
Vietnamese Chicken Recipe
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons soya sauce
- heat a large pan over medium heat.Add sugar and water and cook until sugar start to melt and turn brown.
- Stir frequently for 15 minutes.Then, remove the pan and pour the caramel into a bowl.
- Clean the pan with hot water. Heat olive oil and add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes then, remove it in a bowl.
- Add 2 thin cut chicken breasts that have been seasoned with salt and pepper to the pan and cook it for 10 minutes.
- Add caramel, soya sauce and the reserved onion, garlic and ginger.
- Reduce the heat and cook it for 20 minutes.