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Grandma's Kitchen:   Vietnam's Chicken in Lemon Grass

Grandma's Kitchen Photo by Tien Cao

Vietnamese cooking is relatively unknown to most Americans. But when discovered, many find it rather difficult not to return again and again to try something new. The main ingredients that set Vietnamese food apart from its Southeast Asian counterpart are the utilization and combining of different exotic herbs, spices and fish sauce* (as a primary flavoring agent). You will find that Vietnamese food is very healthy, light, inexpensive, and is a definite treat to the palate.

As an introduction, I obtained from my mother one of her favorite “express” recipes to share with everyone. The dish is called Chicken in Lemon Grass or Ga Xao Xa Ot in Vietnamese. The ingredients call for lemon grass (or xa – a very common exotic herb), fresh chili (ot hiem from Vietnam – but also grown locally), and fish sauce (nuoc mam for flavoring). You should not have any problems getting these at your local Vietnamese supermarket. This dish is very simple to prepare and is very tasty. Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, completely thawed
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • 2 ripe, red hot chili peppers
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 3 Tbl. of fish sauce*
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 3 Tbl. of vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of hot chicken broth or hot water

Chop chicken breast into cubes. Finely chop lemon grass, chili peppers, garlic and mix in with chicken. Add salt, pepper and marinate for one hour prior to cooking. Heat wok, oil and add the marinated chicken. Cook meat until the meat is slightly shrunk, then put in three tablespoons of fish sauce, and the 1/2 cup of hot broth or water. Cover wok and simmer until liquid is reduced. Stir and taste, adding salt and pepper if needed. Serve with hot steamed rice. Serves at least four people.

* Fish sauce is found in most Southeast Asian markets. It may be strong in its original form; however, once cooked it produces a wonderful flavor. Ask your local Asian supermarket for their highest quality sauce.

This is one of my mother’s favorite recipes that she inherited from my grandma. My mother makes this dish very frequently because it is very simple and delicious.

If you have any easy, tasty Asian recipes to share, please send them to us at P.O. Box 23744, San Diego, CA 92193-3744. E-mail: editor@jadedragon.com

Other recipes from Grandma's Kitchen:

Soybean Magic
Fiesta – Filipino Style
Chinese Kitchen Medicine
Filipino Party Foods
Healthy Summer Eating
Korean Homestyle Cooking
Prosperity for the New Year
The Fine Art of Korean Cooking
The Ever Pan-Tropic Bamboo and Indonesian Soup
Tofu Bubble and Chinese Cabbage
Shrimp Hui Tofu
Fighting the "Baby Fat" Blues with Asian Food
Connie's Cuisine
Eat Drink Man Woman - Starring .... Food
Asian New Year's Recipes
More Asian New Year's Recipes

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