Lemongrass-Cilantro Chicken with Honey Dipping Sauce


Pings (simple grilled dishes), like these juicy grilled chicken breasts, are very popular all over Laos. Bruising the lemongrass is an essential step that helps release its flavor into the marinade, which can also be used for fish or pork. More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Lemongrass-Cilantro Chicken with Honey Dipping Sauce. Photo © Petrina Tinslay
Photo: © Petrina Tinslay
Total Time:
35 mins



  • cup water

  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 large stalks of fresh lemongrass (cut into 1-inch pieces)

  • 1 packed cup chopped cilantro

  • 4 large shallots (coarsely chopped)

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves (with skin)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup small mint leaves

  • Lime wedges (for serving)


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and honey and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and add the crushed red pepper. Let cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar and fish sauce and season with salt and black pepper.

  2. Using the side of a chef's knife or a rolling pin, bruise the pieces of lemongrass. Transfer to a large, shallow dish. Add the cilantro, shallots and vegetable oil and mix well. Add the chicken and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before grilling.

  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Scrape the marinade off of the chicken breasts. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill, skin side down, over moderately high heat until the skin is lightly charred and crisp, about 3 minutes. Move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat to moderate and grill for 2 minutes longer. Turn the chicken and cook until white throughout, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. Slice the chicken crosswise 1/3 inch thick and transfer to plates. Sprinkle the chicken with the mint leaves and serve with lime wedges. Pass the dipping sauce at the table.

Make Ahead

The honey dipping sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve the sauce at room temperature.

Serve With

Steamed sticky black rice.

Suggested Pairing

Beer Crisp, citrusy lagers, like the one from Beerlao, a partially government-owned Lao brewery, complement super-aromatic dishes like this chicken. Beerlao can be tricky to find in the US, so look for an equally fresh lager, like Peroni.

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