Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wok Wednesdays | Chinese Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young


 As the saying goes, less is more. Should have forwent the rice balls on the plate..

Mise in place.

Bowl 1: Chicken, cornstarch, salt, pepper, oil
Bowl 2: Lemongrass, garlic, Thai red pepper (recipe calls for jalapeño)
Bowl 3: Onion
Bowl 4: Chicken broth, fish sauce
Bowl 5: Brown sugar

Lemongrass. I have used it a couple of times - the light lemony flavor adds that perfect touch of citrus flavor, without the overpowering, sometimes bitter taste that you can get when you use lemon zest. It is becoming more widely available - found in most supermarkets today - albeit, tucked away in an obscure corner...

Grace mentions in the book, "Not to be alarmed if the chicken seems to be "dry" after marinating." 

The "marinade" consists of only cornstarch, salt, pepper, and a small amount (1 tsp.) of oil. In past recipes, there has also been some liquid of sort, such as soy sauce and rice wine. It's amazing how moist the chicken is without the extra moisture that the soy sauce and rice wine would lend.

Well, over on the Wok Wednesdays Facebook page, everyone has given this recipe high marks.

This recipe was not a complete success for me. I somehow must have used too much fish sauce - for that was pretty much the dominate flavor. I could taste in the background, a slight hint of the lemongrass, and the sweetness from the sugar, but mostly - fish sauce.

Even cleaning up after dinner, I could smell the scent of the fish sauce. Just was not a good thing for me.

Which brings up a question. Fish sauce, as you may know, has a very unpleasant odor, but once cooked, lends the most delicious flavor to foods normally. How do you know when your fish sauce has gone bad?

Putting away my bottle, I noticed it did have an expiration date of February... I wasn't too concerned after consulting a favorite site of mine, Still Tasty dot com. I did throw the rest out however, and will purchase a new bottle when a future recipe calls for it.

 Cucumber flower garnish found on Pinterest.

I have to thank Karen, of Karen's Kitchen Stories for the heads up that this stir-fry could use a splash of color. I was looking for a simple radish garnish, for I have a few radishes in the fridge that need to be used up, when I came across the pretty cucumber flower - not as intricate as the one I found on Pinterest - but a lot of fun to make just the same. 

Thanks Karen!!

We are asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 143 of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed. 

Wok Wednesdays is an online cooking group. If you would like information about joining us, click here, or visit us on Facebook. Would love for you to wok along with us!


  1. Thanks so much for the mention! That cucumber flower is so pretty!! And your rice balls are just fine!!! Sorry about the fish sauce!

  2. Dear Cathleen, absolutely amazingly pretty presentation of your Wok Wednesday dish - you are really suhc a talented cook and baker, it is always such a pleasure to visit your lovely blog! The flower you made is such a pretty addition to this dish, so much devotion to detail, dear friend.
    Have a great weekend,

  3. Hi Cathleen, your presentation is stunning, love how you arranged your plate. Love this recipe!

  4. I always say, "Presentation is 9/10s of the law." Cathleen, this is stunning! And the chicken recipe sounds amazing, too. My lemongrass plants are at the point where I can start using them - I am so excited to try this!

    1. Thanks, David! How fun to grow your own lemongrass! I never even thought to do that. Do let me know what you think of this recipe when you make it. I have to make this again myself, with a fresh bottle of fish sauce. :)

  5. Wow what a lovely presentation of this chicken which could look quite bland. You did a wonderful job of dressing it up. Sorry it wasn't as good as you hoped for.

  6. Cathleen, I was stunned by the loveliness of the flower design on the plate upon opening your Post, so nice. Also, I actually love the rice balls on the plate and think they brought the dish together beautifully- everything looks so appetizing and good.

  7. What a gorgeous edible decoration! I'm sorry that the chicken wasn't a complete success, but it all certainly looks delicious.

  8. Your flower garnish is spectacular!! I'm pinning!!!


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