Caramelized Lemongrass Chicken
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- After 1 to 2 minutes, the sugar will start to clump together then melt into syrup.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Grandma says: “Add the fish sauce in at the last minutes and it won’t stink up your kitchen or your clothes.”
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