Stir Fried Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

17 Oct

It’s getting cold and a bit miserable outside, and after boasting that I never really get ill around this time…..I now have a cold. That’ll teach me. I feel terrible. Fortunately…food makes everything better!

The flavours in this dish are super tasty, and the ingredients have a load of health benefits too:

Lemongrass

– Antimicrobial properties (take that, evil cold bugs).
– High in antioxidants and vitamins/minerals which are supposed to be good at fighting off colds.
– Apparently acts to reduce cholesterol levels.
– Helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Turmeric

– Anti-inflammatory properties are incredibly useful to soothe inflamed throats! I hope it might also extend it’s properties to my poor nose which is looking progressively redder….
– Anti-oxidant, good for boosting the immune system and preventing damage which might be caused by inflammation.
– Used in Chinese medicine to help in clearing infections.

Chillies

– Contain capsaicin, which acts as a decongestant (definitely clears the sinuses…) and apparently also as an expectorant, which basically means it thins mucous and helps the body to get rid of it.

Garlic

– Antibiotic and antiviral properties (as a side note, please remember that most colds are caused by viruses – antibiotics will not help as they act to kill of bacteria, not viruses. So to anyone who pesters their GPs for antibiotics when they’ve got a cold, don’t do it! It won’t help you, and it might actually make matters worse for you and others in the long run due to bacteria becoming resistant to common antibiotics. You just need to wait it out. And eat some good, cold-busting food, of course).
– Antioxidant which helps to boost the immune system.
– The more you eat the less likely other people are to come near you, thus you won’t spread your cold to anyone else. Super!

Chicken

– Contains cysteine, an amino acid which is supposed to help to thin out the mucous too.
– Good source of protein and vitamins, for replenishing some of that lost energy from all the coughing and sniffling!

Asparagus

– Also contains loads of antioxidants such as glutathione, helping the immune system and fighting some of the harmful effects of inflammation.
– Packed full of nutrients.

………..Basically, food is power! And as I like food, I’m quite happy to use these examples as a good excuse to eat more of wonderfully tasting food. This is another dish from Bill Granger, and it was pretty straightforward to make. We don’t own a pestle and mortar, but a good sturdy bowl and the end of a rolling pin did the job just fine!

Recipe (serves 4)

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large green chillies, diced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, very finely sliced, or grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 800g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp light-flavoured oil
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into batons
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 200g), trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 spring onions, cut into batons
  • WHITE pepper

Pound the garlic, turmeric, chilli, lemongrass and salt to a paste in a pestle and mortar. Combine with the chicken in a bowl and mix well. Cover and put in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat. Add half the oil and half the chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Return the chicken to the wok, add the celery and asparagus and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, spring onion and some white pepper* and heat for a further minute. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

*Edit 27/10/2012: I cannot stress enough how important the white pepper is! We made this with both normal black peppercorn pepper and white pepper, and the white pepper completely transforms the dish and lifts the flavours.

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One Response to “Stir Fried Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken”

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  1. Stir-fried Vietnamese lemongrass chicken – zesty, light & healthy | - October 21, 2014

    […] chicken’ can be found in the book. I also stumbled across a new interesting blog today named ‘Drinks and Nibbles’. It features a great post that breaks down all of the health benefits of this recipe. Certainly […]

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