Malaysian-style Chicken With Garlic and Lemongrass

Whoa! What the heck happened? There I was blogging along, documenting a life of running, eating, drinking, and sleeping and then life took over and blogging came to a halt. I guess taking the running, eating, and drinking to a new level cuts into the sleeping and the blogging.

I was reminded earlier this week by Major Janine Garner in the middle of a five mile tempo that she and others are waiting for updates on the old blog. As I huffed and puffed through the run, I promised her that REDS would indeed return, and with a vengeance.

I made this Malaysian-style Chicken with Garlic and Lemongrass way back in March(!). Every now and again, I feel the weight of all the feasting and search for healthy meal ideas, preferably those that do not involve giving up a lot of flavor. Instead of pork shoulder, short ribs, and beef, it’s fish, chicken, and vegetables. During a recent streak of health conscious eating, I dug into my e-mail archives and found a recipe sent to me by Tasting Table for chicken thighs packed with tons of flavors including tons of ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. The recipe requires a bit of advanced prep work but was completely worth it.

I put together the marinade in the morning and let the chicken marinate in the fridge while I went to work. When I got home later that evening I made some rice and went to work searing the chicken and putting it in the oven. The chicken turned out delicious and I figured it would also be great grilled if/when the weather cooperates.

Malaysian-style Chicken with Garlic and Lemongrass (adapted from Tasting Table)


½ cup canola oil
4 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layer removed and stalk finely chopped
16 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
Four-inch piece fresh ginger, scraped and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons sambal chile paste
¼ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice of ½ lime
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

Four 6-ounce bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Make the marinade: In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the lemongrass and cook, stirring for 30 seconds, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir in the shallots. Cook the shallots for 30 seconds and then stir in the ginger. Once the ginger is fragrant, after about 30 seconds, stir in the turmeric and cook for 30 seconds. Mix in the sambal, cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and salt. Turn off the heat and let the marinade cool (the oil will separate from the solids).

Over a large bowl, pour the marinade through a fine-mesh sieve. Scrape the spice paste from the sieve into a small bowl and set aside (if marinating overnight, cover the spice paste with plastic wrap and refrigerate). Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then add to the marinade, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the skillet, skin-side down. Cook until the skin is browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes more.

Turn off the heat and spread equal amounts of the reserved spice paste over the top of each piece of chicken. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes longer.

Serve with salad and/or on white rice.


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