Grilled lemongrass chicken thighs are so juicy and packed with Thai or Vietnamese green curry flavors! Lemongrass, garlic, ginger, all the delicious things for a South-East Asian-inspired feast. Grill outside or on the stovetop!
For more South-East Asian, I recommend the satay chicken skewers with a mango salad, pad Thai, Thai chicken noodle soup, or of course this lemongrass noodle soup!
Why you’ll love this recipe
You will love this chicken thigh recipe because it is seriously packed with flavor. It has delicious Vietnamese or Thai flavors that will transport you to a tropical place (for the duration of dinner anyway).
It is also really easy to make. We jut pop everything into the food processor - apart from the chicken - and blitz until a paste. Chopping now rests on how strong your food processor is!
The chicken thighs are also grilled, which is always so much better. It is perfect for the summer months or when you want to get a summer vibe in November. You don't have to grill them if you don't want to either, so it's a versatile recipe.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs - much juicier than chicken breast, perfect for a recipe like this.
- Lemongrass - lots of lemongrass! Such a fresh and distinct South-East Asian flavor.
- Cilantro - fresh cilantro is always optional, omit it if you want. Adds more freshness.
- Garlic - for more umami
- Ginger - for a spicy freshness
- Spring onion - a great substitute for cilantro, because it's so fresh! In addition, so savory and delicious. I usually add both to this marinade.
- Soy sauce - for an umami saltiness
- Sesame oil - adds a nutty taste, perfect for Vietnamese cuisine although they normally don't use it. You can use peanut butter or peanuts too.
- Brown sugar - to sweeten the marinade.
- Black pepper - for more spice
- Lime juice - to freshen it up
Place all ingredients (apart from the chicken and green part of the spring onion) into a food processor and pulse until it’s a rough paste (1-3).
Prepare the chicken thighs; remove bones if any and pat dry with a paper towel. Smear the lemongrass paste over the chicken, flip, and smear again (4). Marinate for 1-2 hours.
Prepare a grill pan (or a grill, or large skillet), I lightly brush it with canola oil and bring it to high heat. Over high heat, cook the chicken on one side for about 6 minutes (or until it's easy to flip). Cook on the other side for another 6 minutes or until cooked through.
If you want to be completely sure it's done without cutting it, it is when the internal temperature of the thickest part is 165℉ (75℃).
Let rest for five minutes for some of the juices to run back into the chicken, then pour the rest of the juice on top, and garnish with the green part of the green onion, fresh cilantro, and some extra lime juice. if desired.
See what I like to serve with this grilled lemongrass chicken in the What to serve with-section below.
If you omit the lime juice you can let the uncooked chicken marinate overnight. The enzymes in the lime can break up the chicken, making it mushy. It's usually fine though.
For the cooked chicken, you can keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Cooked chicken shouldn't be consumed if it's been at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Gently reheat it as it's already cooked.
It's also great to freeze! Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and gently reheat, as mentioned.
What does lemongrass chicken taste like?
Does lemongrass add flavor?
As mentioned above, lemongrass adds a lemony, gingery, and even a slightly floral flavor. But it needs to be cut correctly for the complex aromas to seep through and into your sauces, soups, and marinades. See below.
Does lemongrass taste spicy?
How do you get the best flavor from lemongrass? How to cut it
Not all of the lemongrass stem is edible. Only the lower bulb of the lemongrass is edible. The pale lower section is the meatiest bit. Remove the stiff outer leaves, the inside is softer.
It is still really tough, so it needs to be prepped more in order to eat it. The easiest way is by adding it to the food processor as we do in this recipe. Other options include:
- Finely chopped
- Pounded to a paste with a mortar and pestle
- Grated with a box grater
So in other words, you need to break up the fibers to make it more manageable. In the same process, you also release the aromas and oils from the stem, making it more flavorful.
This part of the lemongrass has a lot of flavor, but as with the lower part, it needs to be smashed or bent a few times to release the oils and aromas.
What to serve with
Let's dive into what I like to serve with these grilled lemongrass chicken thighs. I love to serve this with lime coconut rice, and a cucumber salad (you could also use the mango salad in the satay chicken recipe).
Other ideas for you: Moroccan carrots (no you don't have to only eat Vietnamese sides with this chicken). Or roasted potato wedges, baked zucchini sticks, a strawberry salad, mint citrus salad, or other fresh salads are delicious too.
I'd go for one starch and one fresh veggie side. Either way, enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more South-East Asian recipes I think you’d love:
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amy liu dong
Friday 19th of May 2023
I love how easy and delicious this recipe is. Even my kids loves it!
Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice
Sunday 21st of May 2023
Thank you so much, my friend!