This is the last week of most of the restaurants and hotels being open on the island. From mid-August to mid-October, Virgin Gorda turns into a desert island. Literally. It is the height of hurricane season, which tends to deter most of the tourists from visiting us during this time period. And therefore, most of the businesses who rely on tourism close in an effort to manage their costs. Since almost everything is closed, it is also a good time for the locals to leave the island to visit with their families or simply go on vacation.
That means that for the next 2 months we won’t have the option to go out and have dinner in a restaurant. I will have to cook every meal myself, which means I am in need of recipes that can be made (1) with whatever I have on hand, and (2) without spending too much time in the kitchen. And this Lemongrass chicken fits the bill perfectly.
First of all, it is a weeknight dinner that is super easy to put together. All you have to do is to make the paste, marinate the chicken in it, and pop it on the stove. The whole process takes around 30 minutes.
I used chicken thigh meat because it has more flavor than chicken breasts, but if breasts are all you have, feel free to use breast meat instead. To flavor the meat, I made a paste using fresh lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili, honey, sesame oil, fish sauce, and rice vinegar. After 15 minutes of marinating the chicken in the paste, it was ready to be cooked. To make it crunchy, I added some cashews and edamame beans. However, you can also use peanuts and snow peas instead, if you like.
For the quiet island summer evenings ahead, this simple and filling chicken dish is a real lifesaver – a hearty meal without the fuss.
15 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 2 lbs. chicken thigh meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped (inner white parts only)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 inch ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup edamame, shelled
- 2 stalks of scallions, green and white parts chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (optional)
- Cooked white rice, to serve it with
- Using paper towels, pat-dry the chicken thigh pieces. Place in a medium bowl.
- Process lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili, honey, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, fish sauce, and rice vinegar in a food processor until they are well blended and paste-like.
- Toss the chicken with the lemongrass paste. Cover it with stretch film and place it in the fridge. Let it marinade for 15 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a wok or large pan (I used my 12 inch cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
- Stir in the soy sauce into the chicken mixture and give it a stir.
- Cook the chicken thigh pieces for 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned. (see note)
- Pour in the chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes and stir in the cashews. Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken stock is reduced and cashews are all coated with the sauce.
- Stir in the edamame at the last minute. Cook until warm, 3-4 minutes.
- Serve with rice and garnish it with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
Note: When cooking the chicken, make sure that each piece have enough room to brown. If your pan is small, I'd recommend to cook the chicken into batches.