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Spicy Lemongrass-Ginger Chicken
© Dana Gallagher

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken

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Charles Phan has firm opinions about the right and wrong way to stir-fry. "A wok isn't like a salad bowl with a flame under it. You don't want to throw everything in at once and toss. You need to layer flavors by adding ingredients in the right order." That's why he stir-fries the chicken here by itself until it is deeply golden and juicy before he transfers it to a plate; after he finishes cooking the other ingredients, he returns the chicken to the wok so all the flavors meld.

  1. 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed, meat cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  2. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
  3. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 plump stalks of lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
  5. 1 medium red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  6. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  7. 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine, sake or water
  8. 1/2 cup Vietnamese Stir-fry Sauce
  9. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  10. 1 teaspoon Asian chili paste
  11. 4 large scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  12. 5 small dried red chiles
  13. 1 large jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  2. In a large skillet or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until small puffs of smoke begin to appear. Add half of the chicken and stir-fry over high heat until browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the lemongrass, onion and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the Vietnamese Stir-fry Sauce, oyster sauce, chili paste, scallions, dried chiles and jalapeño; bring to a boil. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer until heated through, then serve.