Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

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Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Recipe |

A couple months ago Tuttle Publishing sent me a copy of a cookbook, Easy Thai Cooking by Robert Danhi.  As I consider Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, I was very happy with this surprise gift and looked forward to trying all of my favorite recipes as well as other delicious new dishes from this cookbook that I have never tried before.

Easy Thai Cooking by Robert Danhi

I put post-its everywhere in this book to mark my favorite ones, but the first recipe I wanted to try was one that everyone in my family loves – Grilled Lemongrass Chicken.  My husband loves spicy food but both my children and I can’t eat really spicy food so we always go for mild flavor when we order Thai food.  Now being able to cook Thai food at home and being able to control the amount of spice, I look forward to trying many recipes from this book at home.  Maybe even making a few spicy ones just for my husband to surprise him.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken |

This was my very first time making Grilled Lemongrass Chicken at home, actually my first time making anything with fresh lemongrass but I was extremely happy with the result.  It’s quite easy process too.  I couldn’t find finger-size chilies for the homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce so I substitute with dried chilies.  But all the ingredients should be easily found in your nearby Asian store.  I never had palm sugar before but the flavor and fragrance from this sugar is really amazing that I wouldn’t substitute with light brown sugar as the author suggested (unless you really can’t find the palm sugar).  If you are worried about buying lemongrass and don’t know other lemongrass recipes, don’t worry.  There are other delicious lemongrass recipes in the book like Silky Butternut Squash Coconut Soup, Green Curry Pork with Eggplant, Cinnamon-scented Beef Noodle Soup, and more.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken III

Everyone in my family really enjoyed this chicken that I’ll be cooking this often without a doubt.  This time I had prepared other main dishes so I only cooked 4 chicken thighs.  At the end we wished that we cooked more because the chicken was fabulous and we wished that we had leftover for next day lunch!  If you like Southeast Asian dishes, especially Thai food, this is a must try.

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Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 tsp. minced cilantro (coriander) stems
  • 2-4 Thai chilies
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground white peppercorns (I used ½ tsp. white pepper)
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Thai palm sugar/light brown sugar
  • 6-8 chicken thighs
  • 2 small cucumbers
Thai sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. minced red finger-length chilies
  • ½ Thai chili, minced
  • ½ Tbsp. minced garlic
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (5.3 oz/150g) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 6 Tbsp. (90ml) distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  1. Remove the outer skin of lemongrass till you see the tender inner part. We only need bottom third and slice it thinly. Mince cilantro stems.
  2. Rinse and score the chicken pieces, at the thickest part, lightly with a knife.
  3. Chop Thai chilies and Thai palm sugar into small pieces.
  4. Make a coarse paste with the lemongrass, cilantro stems, chilies, and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle (or a mini-food processor).
  5. Mix in the fish sauce and palm sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Coat the chicken with this spice paste. I put the spice paste and chicken in a Ziploc bag. Marinate in the fridge for at least one hour. Marinating chicken overnight always improves the flavor and tenderization.
  7. Preheat the grill to medium-low heat. Slowly grill the chicken, turning often until cooked through and golden brown all over. Alternatively you can rotisserie, bake, or broil this chicken until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165F (75C). We have a gas grill, but we also like cooking on a grill over charcoal so the flavor is good.
  8. For Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  9. Boil over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup (250ml). It might be still runny and not syrupy, but it will thicken further as it cools.
  10. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to a few months.
  11. Serve with wedges of cucumber to snack on and a bowl of Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.
Be careful when handling fresh peppers in case you are allergic. Peppers can cause painful burn to your skin (It happens to me. More info:

Please Note: The Grilled Lemongrass Chicken recipe is reprinted with permission by Tuttle Publishing.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book but was not asked to review this book by the publisher or author. I chose to review this book because I really enjoy this cookbook.  All the opinions expressed are my own.


If you still have time, please check out my interview at Spicie Foodies today.  It’s one of my favorite food blog that I get constant inspiration from.  The blog author Nancy is a remarkable food stylist and photographer.  My husband showed me her website for beautiful photography before we even started our own blog.  Life is totally unexpected as I didn’t imagine that I would be being featured on her blog.  Hope you enjoy my interview session with her.  Enjoy your visit!

Interview with Spicie Foodie


Finally, the lucky winners of my recent giveaways, a copy of Lemongrass & Ginger Cookbook: Vibrant Asian Recipes by Leemei Tan, are:


Congratulations Candice and Sandra!  Thank you everyone for participating the giveaways.  I’ll be contacting the winners soon.

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  1. Congratulations to the giveaway winners! Love the look and sound of the lemongrass chicken Nami – I’ve actually really gone off chicken recently but I can still appreciate how delicious it looks! Something to save for when my chicken-appetite returns! 😀

  2. The moment I saw that title in my Inbox I started to drool uncontrolably and then I saw your gorgous photos of the finished dish and I just wanted to eat my screen. Lovely flavours! Congrats to the winners too!

  3. That looks excellent, Nami! I don’t know who’s to choose – yours or Jeno’s – I’ll just have to try them both, I think!!

  4. I was just saying today that I needed to find more recipes using lemon grass because I have a huge pot of it just outside the kitchen door. I love this recipe!

    Terrific interview on Spicie Foodie! You’re the best, Nami!

  5. This looks very good Nami and I look forward to more of your creations from this book. Will forward this to my daughter she has taken an interest in Thai cooking.

  6. Oh I love to use lemongrass as an ingredient! We have a Filipino grilled chicken dish that’s similar to this, but with some additional ingredients. Your delish recipe makes me want to go grill something right now! Thanks for sharing, Nami!

  7. Nami, Thank you so much! I am looking forward to try many Leemei’s recipes.
    Your Lemongreass chicken look absolutely amazing. I can imagine the taste, and aroma!
    Thank you again, and have a great week!!!

  8. I absolutely love Thai food. This cookbook looks amazing and your selection for your blog post is making my mouth water. Lemongrass is on my list of favorite ingredients. I could smell that lovely scent all day long. Pinning this recipe to make soon! Have a wonderful week.

  9. Beautiful Dish..
    I have this cookbook, I just love all the recipes in it…
    Need to start making some.
    B/W congratulation to the winners…
    Again my finger are cross for next time 😉

  10. This is a great recipe. I love lemongrass, it adds such a wonderful aroma to everything. I have to try this :-).
    About the interview with Nancy, I think it’s very exciting! She is one of my favorite food photographers too – she has such a wonderful style! I can just stare at her photos like in a museum :-) It’s an honor to be featured on her site. Congrats!

  11. I found Thai food so delicious, it has special flavors and yes, a little bit spicy, but is why it is special.
    This chicken looks terrific, we don’t have lemongrass here (can you believe it?), but we have something very close to it that we call “hierba luisa” and we use it a lot as a tea. There is always a discussion if it’s the same or not, I think it’s not, but they are very close, maybe they are familiar.

  12. Ira Rodrigues

    Lemongrass is one of my favorite South East Asian herbs and your recipe is totally hooked me, I will definitely checking out the book here in Bali. I had my jump to your interview btw, you’re really such a great inspiration!

  13. I love lemon grass! When we lived in Florida we grew it all the time. Now that we’re in St. Louis, no. Maybe I should try it, though. Anyway, I love chicken + I love Thai. Think I’d like this? I’ll bet I would! Good recipe – thanks.

  14. Candice

    Hi Nami, Great interview with Nancy! =)

    Thanks for sharing this lemongrass chicken recipe. I’ve had lemongrass eating out at restaurants, but never made it at home. This dish is a must try for me. I was thinking of baking the chicken. Any suggestions on what I should preheat the oven to and how long to cook the chicken?

    Also, I’m so excited to be picked as one of the lucky winner’s for the Lemongrass & Ginger cookbook giveaway. I can’t wait to try Leemei’s recipes.

  15. I am so glad to hear that you had success with lemongrass, and that your family loved it. I have never cooked with it at home but have wanted to. This looks like a great way to give it a try!

  16. donna mikasa

    Oooh, this looks like a dish that will be a family favorite! We love chicken and the seasoning looks delish! Thank you for sharing–off to Amazon to look for the book!

  17. First Jeno’s lemongrass chicken and now yours… I feel I will not resisting making something with this wonderful ingredient. This grilled Thai chicken looks luscious and very Thai. I love Thai and as you probably know I am crazy for hot food, so Thai is also one of my favourite ethnic cuisines. Thanks for sharing your impressions on this apparently excellent book.
    Congratulations for the interview!

  18. Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook)

    that chicken looks so delicious! and i think i actually have almost all the ingredients somehow – i will definitely need to make it this week!

  19. Thanks for introducing the book Nami, I don’t usually cook a lot of thai at home (though love eating). Will have to try this recipe once the weather is decent enough to take the grill out! :)

  20. We threw out our crappy gas grill before we moved, but are planning to get a new one this week. I am so making this! Hope I remember where I found palm sugar last time… I remember it took 3 stores before I found some. Lemongrass is readily available. :)

  21. Hi Nami,

    That book is going on my wish list immediately! I also put post-its all over my new cookbooks:) The chicken looks so delicious, and perfect for the holiday weekend.

    Thank you for letting me interview you and for the sweet words:) It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you better. Looking forward to a great future of Just One Cookbook. Big hugs:)

  22. This sounds great! Lemongrass is a fairly new addition to my pantry staples (I can’t find the fresh so use the jarred lemongrass) and I love it with chicken so this goes straight onto my ‘to try” list.

  23. I’ve only eaten this dish out, I will have to hunt down some lemongrass and try this at home. Have to stop over and read your interview, Nancy always does such a great job. Hope you are having a great week Nami.

  24. Definitely delicious with the lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, chili Thai-based marinade! Since I don’t have a outdoor grill, I tried making similar as a roast whole chicken dish before. Works well too.

  25. Congratulations with the feature… and you are lucky to receive a cookbook from tutle publishing. Maybe next time around you will have a cookbook by the same publishing company. Who knows just like you didn’t expect to be featured with Spicie Foodies right?
    We cook with lemongrass and we have a similar dish like this too. Great presentation and great step by step procedure shared.

    Happy Monday!

  26. Eha

    Am kind’of lucky: in spite of winter well and truly on the way, my two massive lemon-grass plants [in pots] are still talking to me! Chicken thighs, totally by accident, out of the freezer, do guess what I’ll be doing half an hour from now?! OK, Thai chillies not quite on offer, but substitutes . . . Yup, love ‘Spicie Foodies’ too, so, perhaps > first :) !

  27. ava-j

    My hubby and I are huge fans of Thai food and so i’ll be saving this recipe to surprise him when he goes into his recurring “I wish we were in Thailand again” mood,lol! Thanks Nami!

  28. Lemon grass is my current obsession. I have been having lemon grass in the form of tea. I guess it’s high time I started incorporating it in curries as well. Love to try a veggie version of this :)

  29. Dear Nami,

    the moment I saw this recipe, I thought it would either be a Thai or Vietnamese inspired recipe. Lemongrass is such a fragrant and important herb in South East Asian cooking. I love this recipe especially in a summer BBQ with a few cold beers around the pool.

  30. Nami this chicken looks amazing! Love your charcoal grill. It makes everything taste so much better!

    Ps: I buy my lemon grass in bulk and keep it in the freezer. This way I’ll always have it at hand, since it goes so well pretty much everything (pork, fish, beef). It’s amazing on fish!

  31. I love this photo!! Gorgeous and happy colors. It sounds delicious too. I’ve never had Thai food, but I think Mike is pushing for us to try it soon. :)

  32. What an absolutely perfect chicken for this time of year! Bobby is the grill master but he leaves the marinade to me. I am definitely pinning this one to be made very soon!

  33. Nami this chicken sounds delicious with lemongrass…this book looks really interesting! I have eaten lemongrass chicken here in HK so many times here and fell in love with the taste. This recipe looks like a good one worth trying!

  34. you always have the most amazing dishes! I have always wanted to use lemongrass in my cooking but shocker- I never have! You have inspired me to get out of my comfort zone! This chicken looks beyond wonderful!

  35. Hi Nami! I am love, love, loving this recipe for grilled chicken;-) We will be enjoying this hot off the grill one night this Summer, thanks for passing on the recipe;-)

  36. Just like you, I’ve never cooked with lemongrass before and there are so many good recipes out there using lemongrass. I love these chicken, Nami. They are perfectly charred. Hey, that was a very nice interview with Nancy, congrats on being featured there. Good job my friend. :)

  37. Catalina @ Cake with Love

    I love lemongrass chicken, it tastes so fresh, perfect for summer! As always, your photos are beautiful and very nice presentation!

  38. This sounds great! We eat a lot of chicken wings, so I’m always looking for new recipes. And leave it to you, Nami, to make chicken wings look so pretty :)

  39. For years lemon grass was not available in Greece! The chicken looks very well cooked and I am sure it was packed with flavors. Congrats to the winners!

  40. I adore Thai food too, pretty spicy. And I am a huge fan of lemongrass. Glad you got to try it fresh. Preparing Thai at home is best as you said so you can control the heat. Even if you make a dish for the family you can separate a portion for your hubby and add spice for him, everyone will be happy.

  41. I’m in love with Thai food, it’s always so full of flavour and spices, especially lemongrass! I don’t understand what you’re talking about when you say you don’t have good photography, these are amazing, like always! I’m getting hungry…

  42. I love anything citrus-y and lemon grass is one of my fav! I can imagine how amazing this chicken would taste with that beautiful flavor. Got to try this one sometime soon.

  43. Oooh I love Thai dishes and this one is perfect for the barbeque season!!The sauce looks like a perfect combination for these delicious chicken thighs!!Have to try this for sure Nami :)

  44. いい感じにこげたとこが、ホント美味しそう!いいなあ、本ただでもらえて。かなり有名になってる証拠だね。外でグリルするにはまだ寒いから、お天気がもっと良くなったら、ぜひ試したいレシピです。 

  45. Nami, I’ve been wanting to search this recipe for a long time. Now I am so excited that I’ve got it from you. Thank you and I can’t wait to try it out.

  46. My hubby and I just got a wood smoker, and we are having WAY too much fun:-) I just said we need to make a delicious Asian dish on the wood smoker. This recipe would be perfect, and I have not worked with lemongrass yet:-) Sounds lovely! Hugs, Terra

  47. Anne事ちびか〜ちゃんです


    私も良くチキンを使っています 昨日もチキンを使ったばかりです

  48. Nami, sorry to hear about your hot pepper allergy, it must have been painful! The first few times I handled fresh Thai pepper, my fingers felt hot for a few hours and I didn’t make that mental connection, though now a days I know it’s the potent seeds doing their thing…

    Your lemongrass chicken looks delicious, we don’t cook enough Thai dishes at the house, though we do eat at the local Thai restaurant alot. Palm sugar is something I need to make a note to buy the next time we got grocery shopping!

  49. Nami, I’ve made this twice now, but never early enough to take a good photo. (Plus, we just want to eat.) It’s so good! The fish sauce is stinky while marinating, but once it hits the grill it smells heavenly. And the flavors really infuse the chicken. Definitely a new favorite!

    • I’ve made a couple of times already too! I’m glad you enjoyed making this (you cook the same recipe on East coast while I cook on West coast – kinda cool)! I totally agree. It has that funky smell but that transform into something amazing after grilling… now you made my mouth water! =P Thanks for your feedback!

  50. Sam

    Hi Nami, I’ve tried this recipe twice and both times it was a hit! You can get away with a few hours for effect but it’s a huge difference marinated overnight.

    Thanks for the recipe, this one’s a keeper for me.

  51. Nami, so this looks easy enough but I can see that I will have to wait until tomorrrow to enjoy – it should marinate overnight, you are right and so I shall follow the instructions, of course. I really appreciate the “ease” of the ingredients – not hard to find in stores and the list is rather short – perfect for weekdays.

    • Andrea, I hope you enjoy this dish – we have been making this dish many times and the sauce is so delicious that my family really enjoy this dish. The fragrance of lemongrass, palm sugar, fish sauce… very Thai, and delicious!! If you decide to cook this dish, I hope you and your family enjoy it! :)

  52. Alana

    My first attempt at cooking Thai! I could hardly taste the lemongrass flavour though… Not sure if I had removed too much of the outer skin of the lemongrass. But overall my dinner companions gave a thumbs up for the dish :)

    • Alana, thank you for trying this dish. Try adding more. I followed the recipe in this cookbook, and it worked for my family (maybe if it has more lemongrass flavor, my kids may not like it). Don’t worry, you probably didn’t remove the outer skin too much because you would know you are throwing away the skin too much. :)

  53. Jeanna

    Hi! I love Thai food but I live in South Florida and I can’t find lemongrass anywhere! Not even in the large Asian market. Is it possible to substitute for it in Thai recipes?

    • Hi Jeanna! Lemongrass is pretty important in this particular recipe. There are sweet basil that Thai recipes use often. Hope you can find lemongrass somewhere…

  54. Lizzy

    It’s cooking right now under the grill. I made the following changes due to what was in my pantry:

    Used dried Cayenne chillies instead of fresh ones
    Used Vietnamese nuoc mam fish sauce
    Used frozen lemongrass
    Used frozen cilantro

    Hope this turns out well! We’ll eat it with white rice and store bought Thai sweet chilli sauce, and have fresh cantaloupe melon for dessert.