Spicy Vietnamese Chicken

This was my first real attempt at making a Vietnamese dish and I was fairly pleased with the results. I adapted the recipe from one I found online and it turned out pretty well. I didn’t have lemongrass, and the substition of lemon juice wasn’t quite the same, though it was good enough I’d make it with lemon again. I also went a little light on the peppers, not including the first set of dried peppers; they’ll be used next time.

Spicy Vietnamese Chicken


1 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbs water
1 lb chicken breast skinless, boneless, sliced 1/4″ thick & 1-1/2″ long
3 Tbs vegetable oil
10 whole dried chiles, or to taste, (optional)
1/4 C minced lemon grass, preferably fresh, or 2Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp ground chili paste, and /or 1 small fresh red chili, thinly sliced
1/2 C chicken stock
1 Tbs fish sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 C julienned carrots, blanched and shocked in ice water
fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)


Combine cornstarch and water in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Add the chicken, making sure it is well coated.

Heat the oil over low heat. Add the dried chiles and cook until they puff up and are slightly brown (not black), about 10 seconds. Remove, drain on paper towels, and set aside.

Increase the heat to high and cook the onions for 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve for later use.

Next, add the lemon grass or juice, garlic, sugar, chili paste, and fresh chili until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion back and cook for a minute or two and then add the chicken. Cook till mostly done, 3-5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, salt, and carrots and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the reserved chilies, garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice.

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