Spicy Lemongrass Chicken


Charles Phan stir-fries chicken by itself until it's deeply golden and juicy, transfers it to a plate, finishes cooking the other ingredients, and returns the chicken to the wok so all the flavors meld.

Total Time:
25 mins
6 servings

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."


  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed and meat cut into 3/4-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 plump stalks of lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced

  • 1 medium red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine, sake, or water

  • 1/2 cup Vietnamese Stir-fry Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Asian chile paste

  • 4 large scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 5 small dried red chiles

  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced


  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil, salt, and 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; 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, chile paste, scallions, dried chiles, and jalapeño; bring to a boil. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer until heated through, then serve.

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