- 1 ¾ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, or chicken tenders
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 ½ tablespoons superfine sugar, to taste
- 2 red chilles, halved, seeded, and shredded, divided
- 2 tablespoons peanut or sunflower oil (or other oil of your choice)
- 1 onion, halved, cut into slim crescent moon-shaped slices
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Juice of ½ to 1 lime, plus extra if needed
- 2 tablespoons purple amaranth or cilantro leaves, to serve
- ½ tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds, to serve
- Trim any fat from the thighs and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Remove the tough outer layers of the lemongrass and trim the top and base. Mince the rest—the softer part of the lemongrass—as finely as you can.
- Put half of the minced lemongrass into a bowl with the fish sauce, garlic, sugar, half of the chiles, and the chopped chicken.
- Mix together with your hands, cover with plastic wrap, and put into the fridge.
- Let marinate for at least 4 hours; overnight is even better. Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking.
- Heat the oil in a wide-based saucepan or a wok set over medium heat.
- Add the chicken and cook on all sides, getting a really good color all over it.
- Add the reserved chiles, reserved lemongrass, and the onion and stir-fry until the onion starts to soften. Be careful not to burn the chiles or the lemongrass.
- Pour in the stock, reduce the heat, and cover.
- Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid, increase the heat, and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced.
- You want a mixture that is wetter than a stir-fry but drier than a braise.
- Add lime juice to taste, then check for seasoning and sweet-sour balance, adjusting with sugar and lime.
- Scatter with the amaranth or cilantro leaves and sesame seeds, if using, and serve with brown rice and stir-fried greens.
Credit: Recipe from A BIRD IN THE HAND: Diana Henry