Caramelized Lemongrass Chicken Thighs

Total Time
4hrs 45mins
Prep 4 hrs
Cook 45 mins

This is a recipe I came across in a cookbook I had had for some time, and finally decided to make. It was made very clear to me that this was a recipe which I had better make again, as it went over VERY well. This also works with pieces of a whole chicken, but the thighs are just the right size and shape to work well. Prep time includes marinating time (in a pinch you can marinate for about 15 minutes and go).


  1. Remove skins and extra fat from chicken.
  2. Remove the outer leaves from the lemongrass, cut into 1 inch pieces, and pound until somewhat flattened with a meat tenderizer.
  3. Crush garlic and blend with lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper.
  4. Add chicken and toss to coat well; marinate 3-4 hours.
  5. If needed, you can marinate for 15 minutes and cook- the flavor will be less intense, but it will still work if you're in a hurry.
  6. Remove chicken from marinade (but save the marinade).
  7. Heat oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  8. Brown the chicken in the oil (~10minutes).
  9. Pour the remaining marinade into the pan, and add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan (there should be 1/4 inch or less of liquid - it needs to simmer off, or else the chicken won't caramelize).
  10. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and simmer until the chicken is tender, turning occassionally (about 30 minutes).
  11. Stir lemon juice into sauce, and stir to coat chicken.
  12. Serve hot.
Most Helpful

I made it again and checked my amounts carefully. The mistake I made when posting the recipe was in step 9. I overstated the amount of water to add. It should actually be about 1/4 inch - just barely enough to cover the bottom of the pan. That keeps the chicken tender. As the water simmers off, the chicken will carmelize. That should help with what Jan S noted (watery, didn't caramelize well). Thanks for noticing that, Jan S - I have sent in a correction, so step 9 will be amended soon.

ChrisMc March 02, 2003

Incredible recipe Chris. My dh & I both loved this spicy dish. I marinaded a whole chicken,(which I cut up and skinned )for 9 hours. It was delicious served with steamed jasmine rice. I loved that it was quick and easy to make. I will be making this often. The chicken was moist and tender and beautifully caramelized. Thank you so much for sharing this treasure. :)

Baby Kato March 10, 2010

This is absolutely delicious. I made this for our anniversary dinner, the chicken caramelised beautifully and we loved the flavour. In to my favourite file for sure!

Evie* October 14, 2009