Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

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  • Grilled Lemongrass Chicken and chili sauce on a plate.

    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.


    Cooking book and Grilled Lemongrass Chicken on a table.

    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 and salad on a plate.

    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, salad and sauce on a plate.

    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.

    Other Homemade Thai food Recipes:

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    0 from 0 votes
    Grilled Lemongrass Chicken |
    Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr 30 mins
    Juicy and flavorful grilled chicken thighs marinated with lemongrass, palm sugar, Thai chili, and fish sauce. Enjoy with homemade chili sauce. 
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Thai
    Keyword: grilled chicken, thai chicken
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    • 2 stalks lemongrass
    • 2 tsp cilantro (coriander) (stems, minced)
    • 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 Persian/Japanese cucumbers
    Thai sweet Chili Sauce:
    • 1 Tbsp red finger-length chilies (minced)
    • ½ Thai chili (minced)
    • ½ Tbsp garlic (minced)
    • ¾ tsp sea salt (or kosher salt)
    • ¾ cup sugar (¾ cup = 5.3 oz or 150 g)
    • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
    • 6 Tbsp distilled white vinegar (6 Tbsp = 90 ml)
    • ¼ cup water (¼ cup = 60 ml)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Ingredients
    2. 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.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 1
    3. Rinse and score the chicken pieces, at the thickest part, lightly with a knife.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 2
    4. Chop Thai chilies and Thai palm sugar into small pieces.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 3
    5. Make a coarse paste with the lemongrass, cilantro stems, chilies, and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle (or a mini-food processor).
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 4
    6. Mix in the fish sauce and palm sugar until the sugar dissolves.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 5
    7. 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.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 6
    8. 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.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 7
    9. For Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 8
    10. 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.
      Grilled Lemongrass Chicken 9
    11. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to a few months.
    12. Serve with wedges of cucumber to snack on and a bowl of Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.
    Recipe Notes

    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:


    All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    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!

    Namiko Chen


    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.

    Make It Into A Meal

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