Ga Xao Sa
(Vietnamese lemongrass chicken)
Gà xào sả, 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-to-make 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
- 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.
- Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in wok or large pot over medium-high flame. Add the scallions or shallots and garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped bell pepper and continue to stir fry until it is thoroughly heated and beginning to wilt, 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and its marinade and continue to stir fry until the chicken is just cooked through, another 3 or 4 minutes.
- 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.
- Tom Xao Sa (Lemongrass shrimp): Try making the dish with shrimp. They will only need to marinate 30 minutes or so.
- 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.