I didn’t see many stir fry dishes during my travels throughout Vietnam. Stir fries are more Chinese than Vietnamese, after all. This dish has nevertheless quickly become my favorite stir fry and is a good testament to the versatility of Vietnamese cooking. As our Vietnamese beef stew demonstrates, you can make any dish have a Vietnamese flair by incorporating the trusty combination of lemongrass, Thai chilis, and fish sauce.
It’s quick enough to make on a weeknight, especially if you already have minced your lemongrass and peanuts. Minced lemongrass lasts a long time in your freezer, which cuts down considerably on the time it takes to make this dish. I always have a good supply for dishes like this. First, cut the bottom half-inch off the lemongrass stalk as well as the greenish top portion of the stalk, and discard. Peel the outer layers, and then with a sharp chef’s knife, thinly slice the stalk into coin-shaped pieces. Mince the coins until you are left with tiny bits.
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Stir Fry
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, preferably a mix of breasts and thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup finely minced lemongrass
- 2 medium-sized shallots thinly sliced
- 2-3 medium-sized garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 jalapeño stemmed, and thinly sliced into rings
- 3 Thai chilis whole
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 1 cup chopped red and/or green bell peppers
- 2 scallions minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped roasted peanut
In a bowl, whisk together fish sauce, chicken stock, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Heat a wok over high heat until very hot. It's hot enough when a drop of water immediately evaporates. Add the oil and heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes, turning a few times, until browned on all sides.
Leaving the chicken in the wok, carefully pour off most of the oil and rendered fat from the wok, and return the wok to medium-high heat. Add the shallots, bell peppers, and jalapeños and cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, lemongrass, and Thai chilis and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add the wine and stir briskly, deglazing the wok.
Add the fish sauce, chicken stock, and sugar mixture, and the scallions, cook for 1 minute more until scallions have softened slightly.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the peanuts. Serve immediately.