Food made with love in a Vietnamese mom's kitchen.

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken (Gà Xào Xả Ớt)

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken (Gà Xào Xả Ớt)

I love lemongrass.  The fragrance is so refreshing.  You can use it soups (Spicy Beef Noodle soup) or braise with chicken in this spicy lemongrass chicken dish.

Lemongrass is a little tough.  You usually only want to use the white part of the herb.  For this dish, slice them into thin pieces with a SHARP knife.  Stop slicing once you get into the thinner green part.  Then, run your knife through and mince them as finely as you can.  You could also put the slices into a food processor.

What I do is buy a couple bundles of lemongrass at my local Asian store.  I clean them, then use the slicing blade on my food processor to slice them.  Then I use the regular blade to mince them.  I separate them into small batches and put them into the snack size Ziploc bags and freeze.

I like the bone in and skin on my chicken thighs.  I’m a fan of the cartilage, so I will keep the bone in.  The skin gives it flavor.  I just take a cleaver to the thighs and chop them into pieces.  Warning: you’ll bite into shards of bones since they shatter when you chop.  Boneless and skinless is an option, too.

I was looking at the prices between the boneless, skinless chicken thighs versus the bone-in thighs.  Boneless, skinless thighs were $4.99/lb.  The bone-in with skin thighs, $1.99/lb.  Um…I can debone my own chicken thighs, thank you very much.

If you have a boning knife, great.  If not, just use your regular chef knife.  Just make sure it’s sharp.  Start at the end of the bone that’s stick out.

deboning chicken thigh

Then, run your knife along the bone.

run knife along bone


finish deboning

If you don’t like the skin and fat, just peel the skin off and cut off any excess fat you don’t want.

spicy lemongrass chicken

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken (Gà Xào Xả Ớt)

Lemongrass chicken can be spicy or not.  Up to you.  No rules here.


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken thighs (deboned or bone-in, cut into small pieces)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup minced lemongrass
  • 1 shallot - minced
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 5 Thai chilis - chopped optional or use what you want
  • 3 Tbs fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs sugar Optional: use 1/4-1/2 cup coconut soda with 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce optional
  • 1/4 cup water


If you're using skinless chicken thighs:

  1. In a large pan, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat.

  2. Once the pan is heated, add the lemongrass, shallot, garlic, and chili pepper (if using) and saute until fragrant.

  3. Add the skinless chicken thighs and stir until they're halfway cooked.

  4. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water and mix well.

  5. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked and sauce is reduced.

If you're using skin on chicken thighs:

  1. In a large pan, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the skin on chicken thighs and let it cook until the fat from the skins releases.

  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

  4. Pour out some of the fat and keeping about 2 tablespoons in the pan.

  5. Place the pan back on the burner.

  6. Now, add the lemongrass, shallots, and garlic and saute until fragrant.

  7. Add the chicken back into the pan and mix.

  8. Then, add the fish sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce and mix well.

  9. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce is reduced.



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