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Caramelized Lemongrass Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 stalks lemongrass trimmed, bruised
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs with skin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetabl oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, divided minced
  • 1 yellow onion halved, sliced
  • 3 thai chilies sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 spring cilantro, for garnish chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onions, for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Trim the lemongrass and bruise the stems with a meat pounder or a large knife to release their aroma and oils. Cut into thin ringlets and whirl in a food processor until ground to confetti-sized flakes. Repeat with the remaining stalks. You will get about 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons).
  2. In a medium bowl, season the chicken with salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and toss together with 3 tablespoons of lemongrass flakes. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet (if possible, use a pan with a light interior such as stainless steel so you can monitor changes in color), heat the oil over medium-high heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Add the sugar and stir continuously.
  4. After 1 to 2 minutes, the sugar will start to clump together then melt into syrup.
  5. After another 2 to 3 minutes, the clear syrup will thicken into a gooey caramel-brown liquid suspended in the oil. You will also smell a pleasant burnt sugar aroma.
  6. Watch the caramel closely during this process as it can burn very quickly. If the caramel starts to turn black and smell acrid, pull the skillet off the stove for a few seconds before continuing.
  7. Stir in the remaining lemongrass, onions, and 1 tablespoon garlic, and cook and stir until the ingredients turn golden brown and fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Add the chicken and raise the heat to high. Toss the chicken in the caramel sauce for about 1-1/2 minutes. If there isn’t enough sauce to evenly coat the chicken, carefully add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture starts to sputter aggressively, pull the skillet off the stove until it ceases. Throw in the chilies and keep stirring until the chicken is no longer pink, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. When the chicken is just cooked through, add the fish sauce and remaining garlic. Stir with a couple more flourishes to mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  10. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and green onions. Serve with freshly steamed rice.
  11. Grandma says: “Add the fish sauce in at the last minutes and it won’t stink up your kitchen or your clothes.”

 

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Calories: 262 kcal

Carbohydrates: 16 g

– Added sugar: 6.8 g

– Fiber: 0.71 g

Protein: 23 g

Total fat: 12 g

 

Recipe by Pickles and Tea

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