Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry (ga xao sa ot) perfectly combines tender and juicy chicken, fragrant lemongrass, chili peppers, and fish sauce. This dish is super quick and easy to make for daily meals.
Lemongrass has a distinct citrusy flavor and aroma that adds depth and complexity to many Vietnamese dishes. When combined with other aromatics like garlic, ginger and chili peppers, lemongrass creates a bold and savory flavor profile that is hard to resist.
I already shared this popular lemongrass beef stir-fry recipe some time ago. Today is the version with chicken which is equally delicious and can be cooked in one pan. Its Vietnamese name is “gà xào sả ớt“.
Here are the main ingredients you will need to make Vietnamese lemongrass chicken stir-fry, along with some tips for selecting and preparing them:
- Chicken: I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. Cut them into thin strips or slices for even cooking. If you use chicken breasts, the stir-fried chicken will be less juicy.
- Lemongrass: use fresh lemongrass to add a fragrant, citrusy flavor to this dish. Trim off the tough outer layers and chop off the green parts since we will only use the tender, white inner stalk.
- Chili peppers: I recommend using two types of chilies. One is spicy bird’s-eye chili for a spicy kick and another one is non-spicy or very mild red chili pepper. The dish will be too spicy if you use 100% bird’s-eye chili.
- Other aromatics: ginger and garlic.
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, oyster sauce and fish sauce.
Here I use red banana peppers (ớt sừng), but other chili varieties that are not spicy, or just mildly spicy will work too. Bell peppers will also work.
How to Make Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
The stir-fry comes together quickly, so it’s best to prepare all ingredients before cooking. Also, use a heavy-bottomed pan that retains heat well, such as a Lodge cast iron, to make the dish.
1️⃣ Marinate the chicken: combine chicken with mixture of salt, pepper, five-spice powder and some cornstach. This will help flavor the chicken and tenderize it.
2️⃣ Stir-fry the aromatics: sauté the lemongrass for a couple minutes until it has reduced in volume and the oil is infused with lemongrass fragrance. Then stir-fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant.
3️⃣ Cook the chicken: Add the chicken to the pan and stir-fry until almost cooked through.
4️⃣ Put everything together: when the chicken is almost cooked through, add seasonings and red chilies to the pan. Stir-fry quickly to combine the flavors. Try not to overcook; otherwise, the meat will dry out.
How to Serve
The most traditional way to serve ga xao sa ot is with steamed rice. In addition, here are some creative options you can try:
- With rice vermicelli noodles: create your noodle bowl with this lemongrass stir-fried chicken, lettuce, and fresh herbs.
- With banh mi (Vietnamese baguette): stuff the bread with stir-fried chicken and add several slices of fresh or pickled cucumber and carrots, and cilantro.
I hope you will give this easy Vietnamese chicken stir-fry a try and let me know how you serve it.
⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (450g)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil (plus more to cook)
- 6 medium lemongrass stalks, white parts only, sliced very thinly (about 2/3 cup or 40-45g sliced)
- 1 tablespoon julienned ginger
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (to taste)
- 2 red banana peppers, or any non/mildly-spicy red chili peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup or 25g sliced)
- 1 bird's-eye chili, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
- Cut chicken thighs into thin slices or strips. Toss with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon five-spice powder, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, ½ tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon water. Then add 2 teaspoons oil and mix to combine. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
- Place a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add cooking oil to coat the bottom. Add lemongrass slices once the oil is hot, stir and cook for about 2 minutes until lemongrass has reduced in volume and looked slightly golden and it smells aromatic. Transfer most of the lemongrass to a clean bowl.
- Add julienned ginger and sauté until fragrant and softened, up to a minute. Then add the remaining minced garlic and sauté briefly until fragrant.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, then add chicken and let them cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds to give them a nice sear. Then stir and cook for another 6-7 minutes.
- Add back lemongrass and also add oyster sauce, fish sauce and all the chili peppers. Stir and toss for 1-2 more minutes until chicken is fully cooked and flavors are combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Drizzle sesame oil over the chicken and give everything a final stir. Transfer to clean plates and serve.
- With rice vermicelli noodles: create your noodle bowl with the stir-fried chicken, lettuce, and fresh herbs.
- With banh mi (Vietnamese baguette): stuff the bread with the stir-fried chicken and add several slices of fresh or pickled cucumber and carrots, and cilantro.