Crispy Fried Lemongrass Chicken

Asian Cooking 39 mm CoverThis exotic twist on fried chicken was found in Asian Cooking Made Easy: Nutritious Meals in Minutes from the Learn to Cook series by the Periplus Editors.

Note: The spices for this dish can be found in any Asian market. If you use candlenuts, make sure that they are well toasted before eating. Raw candlenuts can be toxic.

Crispy Fried Lemongrass Chicken


  • 1 Fresh chicken, cut into serving portions
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, bruised and cut into 3 pieces
  • Oil for deep-frying

Spice Paste

  • 5 macadamia nuts or candlenuts
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 inch galangal root, peeled and sliced
  • 2 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbl ground turmeric
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt


1. To make the Spice Paste, dry-fry the macadamia nuts or candlenuts, coriander and cumin seeds in a skillet or wok over low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind them in a blender or food processor until fine, add the galangal, ginger, ground tumeric, garlic and salt and grind to form a smooth paste. Ad a little water if needed to keep the mixture turning.
2. Put the Spice Paste in a wok or skillet with a lid. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry over medium heat to coat with the Spice Paste and lemongrass. Cover the pan and simmer slowly over low heat, turning the chicken pieces from time to time, until all the moisture is absorbed and the chicken pieces are tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass.
3. Heat the oil in a wok until very hot. Add several chicken pieces, with the spices still coating the outside, then deep-fry over high heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm while frying the remaining chicken pieces.
4. The chicken may be prepared up to the end of step 2 and kept for several jhouse or refrigerated overnight before deep-frying.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Even after cooking the chicken for the correct amount, the chicken was underdone. I threw the chicken in the oven for another 10 minutes at 400F. The next time I make this, I’ll probably forget frying the chicken and bake the chicken pieces for 35-40 minutes at 400F.

And I will be making this again, because the flavor from spice paste was divine! It wasn’t overpowering, but imparted a great flavor to the chicken. I also may try this spice paste on some boneless chicken breasts.



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