What Is Lemongrass Chicken?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 June 2020
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Lemongrass chicken is a popular Southeast Asian dish. The most basic recipe includes chicken, lemongrass and garlic. The flavor that the lemongrass provides is unique, especially when combined with other herbs and spices. The cooking process is simple and relies heavily on having fresh ingredients that have been prepared correctly.

The main ingredient in the dish is lemongrass. This is a woody herb that is thought to have some beneficial medicinal properties, though there is no conclusive evidence of this. The preparation of lemongrass involves breaking down the hard fibers to make them edible. It usually is stripped down to the center stalk, and that stalk is then grated into small pieces, although it also can be sliced very thin for cooking.

Other traditional ingredients include garlic and fish sauce. These are often combined with other spices to create a marinade. The chicken is cut into smaller pieces and marinated before cooking.

The marinated chicken can be cooked in many ways. A modern approach involves slowly roasting the lemongrass chicken in an oven until it is tender. In Southeast Asia, a wok or other hot pan is more frequently used. The latter method cooks the chicken very quickly and creates a sticky coating that browns in the pan.

There are many variations on the lemongrass chicken recipe, depending on the region where it is being made. In areas such as Vietnam, a cook might add curry powder, and in an area such as Thailand, one might add a ginger-like spice called galangal. American preparations are diverse and replace exotic ingredients with more commonly found ones, such as limes and ginger. Western versions also tend to attempt to remove as much fat as possible by using boneless chicken breasts.

The lemongrass chicken is often plated with some of the cooked marinade over the top, which acts like a sauce. Steamed white rice might be served on the side or underneath the chicken. Other side dishes that are commonly served with the meal include potatoes, couscous and scallions. The plate is often garnished at the end with freshly chopped coriander and lime wedges.


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