International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Ga Xao Sa

Ga Xao Sa Recipe (Vietnamese lemongrass chicken)

(Vietnamese lemongrass chicken)

Image Creative Commons by Gnawme

Average: 4.3 (38 votes)

Ga xao sa, or lemongrass chicken, is one of the better known Vietnamese dishes, often on the menu of Vietnamese restaurants. It is a wonderfully light, refreshing and easy chicken recipe, with all of the bright flavors of that Southeast Asian nation.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken breast or thighs, boneless, skinless and cubed -- 1 pound
  • Lemongrass, white tender part only, minced -- 3 or 4 stalks
  • Cornstarch -- 2 teaspoon
  • Sugar -- 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper -- 1 teaspoon
  • Fish sauce -- 2 tablespoons
  • Peanut, sesame or vegetable oil -- 4 tablespoons
  • Shallots or scallions, minced -- 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 cloves
  • Red bell pepper, chopped -- 1
  • Water -- 1/4 cup
  • Brown sugar or caramelized sugar syrup -- 1 tablespoon


  1. In a large bowl, mix the cubed chicken with the lemongrass, cornstarch, sugar, pepper, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour or for up to 8 hours.
  2. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in wok or large Dutch oven over medium-high flame. Add the scallions or shallots and garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped bell pepper and continue to stir fry until it is thoroughly heated and beginning to wilt, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and its marinade and continue to stir fry until the chicken is just cooked through, another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the water, remaining fish sauce and brown sugar or caramel syrup. Simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with steamed rice.

Ga Xao Sa Variations

  • Ga Xao Sa Ot (Lemongrass chicken with peanuts): Sprinkle roasted, unsalted peanuts over the top of the finished dish.
  • Bo Xao Sa (Lemongrass beef): Substitute thinly sliced beef for the chicken.
  • For a creamy curry variation of this dish, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of curry powder to the scallions and garlic when you stir fry them. Substitute coconut milk for the water at the end of the recipe.
  • Try making the dish with shrimp. They will only need to marinate 30 minutes or so.


The whole family loves's so yummy. A definite staple now at the MC household.

I went to Vietnam a few months ago and the Lemongrass Stir Fry was my favorite thing I ate there. This is a great recipe, though I usually add a few red pepper flakes, because it was a fairly spicy dish when I had it in Vietnam. You can also easily do this with pork or beef. Lots of room for variation! Thanks for this recipe, it does justice to a great dish!

We loved this dish, I made it for an ethnic potluck with coworkers. The lemon was fresh but not overpowering.
If you choose to use the fresh lemongrass, you should chop off the top dry stems, then very FINELY mince the rest of the vegetable (like minced garlic).
I removed much of the outer shell to get to the very white tender part of the plant, but others tell me this is not necessary as it will cook and soften.
Some Asian markets sell the frozen lemongrass which might be simpler too!

I am a Vietnamese living in New Zealand and this recipe has been a saviour for me who misses the flavours so much. So easy to prepare, so easy to get the ingredients. Can't thank you enough! Family loves it even the kids. It's become a near weekly dish for us.