I love the mixed flavors of hot, salty, sweet and the aroma of lemongrass make such a dominant characteristic. This is incredibly easy, somewhere between a stir-fry and a sauté, with just enough sauce to coat the pieces of chicken.
- 200 gram skinless, boneless chicken breast or chicken thighs
- 2 lemongrass stalks (slice and finely chop)
- 2 spoon of fish sauce
- 1tbsp superfine sugar, to taste
- 2 red chiles, halved, seeded, and shredded, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp ground peanut
- 1 spoon of vegetable oil
- 1 onion, halved, cut into slim crescent moon-shaped slices
- 1/2 cup coconut juice
- Cilantro leaves or coriander, to serve (optional)
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 this into a bowl with the fish sauce, sugar, half of the chiles, half of the garlic, and the chopped chicken. Mix together with your hands, cover with plastic wrap, and put into the fridge. Let marinate for at least 1/2 hours.
Heat the oil in a wide-based saucepan or a wok set over medium heat. Add remained garlic till smell good, 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 coconut juice, 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. Check for seasoning to balance, adjusting with sugar and fish sauce. Scatter with cilantro leaves and ground peanut, if using, and serve with steamed rice.