Easy Air Fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Recipe & Tips

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine biting into a piece of chicken that’s bursting with the bright, citrusy flavors of lemongrass, with a hint of garlic and a touch of sweetness. That’s the magic of Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, a beloved dish that’s as flavorful as it is colorful. Traditionally, this dish requires marinating and then frying or grilling, but with an air fryer, you’re in for a quicker, healthier version without sacrificing any of the taste.

Ingredients

Get ready to infuse your kitchen with the vibrant fragrances of Vietnamese cooking. Below are the essential ingredients for your air fryer Vietnamese lemongrass chicken, organized into two sections: the main ingredients for the chicken and the marinade, and optional garnishes to elevate your dish.

Chicken and Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sliced green onions
  • Red chili slices, for added heat
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Required Equipment

To ensure the success of your Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken in an air fryer, having the right equipment is vital. Below you’ll find a list of essential tools to help you execute this recipe flawlessly:

  • Air Fryer: This is the key appliance for cooking the chicken. Ensure it’s spacious enough to accommodate the chicken thighs without overcrowding.
  • Mixing Bowls: You’ll need at least two bowls: one for marinating the chicken and another for preparing any optional garnishes or additional sides.
  • Whisk or Spoon: This will be used to mix the marinade thoroughly, ensuring that the lemongrass, garlic, and seasonings are well combined.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Precision is key, so have these on hand to measure out all your marinade ingredients and seasonings correctly.
  • Kitchen Knife: Needed for finely chopping the lemongrass, garlic, and any optional garnishes such as green onions and red chilies.
  • Cutting Board: Choose a sturdy board for prepping your ingredients.
  • Tongs: These are essential for flipping the chicken thighs during cooking to ensure they are evenly cooked on all sides.
  • Optional: Lime Squeezer, if using fresh lime juice to enhance the flavor of your dish or for the dressing.

Gathering these tools before you begin will streamline the cooking process and ensure that you have everything at hand to make your air fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken a delightful and hassle-free cooking experience.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Preparing this air fryer Vietnamese lemongrass chicken in advance can save you time and enhance the flavors, allowing the seasonings to fully meld with the chicken.

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Prepare the Marinade: Combine the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, and oil in a mixing bowl. Whisk these ingredients together to ensure they are well blended.
  2. Add Chicken Thighs: Place your chicken thighs in a sealable plastic bag or a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Marinate: Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated. Seal the bag or container and gently shake it to distribute the marinade evenly.
  4. Refrigerate: Place the marinated chicken in the refrigerator. For best results, let it marinate for at least two hours, or for optimal flavor, overnight.
  1. Preheat Your Air Fryer: About 15 minutes before you plan to cook, take the chicken out of the refrigerator. This step brings it closer to room temperature, which promotes even cooking.
  2. Prep Pans and Tools: Ready your air fryer basket by lightly oiling it if necessary to prevent sticking. Also, prepare any tongs or spatulas you will use to handle the chicken.

Using these make-ahead steps not only helps in infusing the chicken with robust flavors but also streamlines your cooking process, making it quicker and more efficient when you’re ready to cook.

Instructions

Follow these steps carefully to bring your Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken to life using an air fryer, building on the flavors you’ve prepped with the marinade.

Preparing the Marinade

  1. Start by removing the outer layers of the lemongrass stalks, then finely chop the tender part of the lemongrass to yield about two tablespoons.
  2. Peel and mince four cloves of garlic.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped lemongrass, minced garlic, two tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of fish sauce, one tablespoon of brown sugar, and two teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. Stir these ingredients until well mixed and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Drizzle in two tablespoons of vegetable oil while stirring to integrate all the flavors into a cohesive marinade.
  1. Take approximately 1.5 pounds of chicken thighs and pat them dry with paper towels to ensure the marinade adheres well.
  2. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, then pour the marinade over the chicken.
  3. Use your hands or a spoon to make sure each piece of chicken is evenly coated with the marinade.
  4. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap or close the plastic bag, ensuring to remove as much air as possible.
  5. Refrigerate the marinated chicken for at least two hours, or for best results, leave it in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to fully penetrate the chicken.

Cooking Instructions

Once your chicken has marinated fully, it’s time to cook. You’ll find the steps below guide you through prepping your air fryer and the actual cooking process.

Prepping the Air Fryer

Begin by setting up your air fryer for cooking. Ensure your air fryer basket is clean to avoid any unwanted flavors.

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). This temperature provides the right environment to cook the chicken thoroughly while keeping it juicy.
  2. Lightly brush the air fryer basket with a small amount of oil. This step prevents the chicken from sticking to the basket and helps in achieving a crispy outer layer.

Cooking the Chicken

With your air fryer preheated and ready, it’s time to cook the chicken. The aim is to get a beautifully browned and flavorful chicken that retains the essence of the marinade.

  1. Place the marinated chicken thighs in the air fryer basket. Arrange them in a single layer to ensure they cook evenly.
  2. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then, using tongs, flip each chicken thigh to ensure they brown evenly on both sides.
  3. Continue cooking for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer.
  4. Once done, remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring each bite is succulent and flavorful.

Note: Cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken thighs and the specific model of your air fryer. Always use a meat thermometer to check doneness.

Serving Suggestions

After you’ve mastered the cooking of your Air Fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, the next exciting step is serving it in a way that complements its rich flavors and crispy texture. Here are some delightful ways to serve your chicken that will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of Hanoi.

Pair With Steamed Jasmine Rice

For a classic Vietnamese meal, serve your lemongrass chicken with a side of steamed jasmine rice. The subtle fragrance of the rice beautifully balances the robust flavors of the lemongrass and spices. Ensure the rice is fluffy and not overly sticky to provide a pleasant textural contrast to the crispy chicken.

Add a Side of Fresh Salad

Create a refreshing side by tossing together a Vietnamese-style salad. Mix thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots, and daikon radish with a handful of fresh herbs like mint or cilantro. Dress the salad lightly with fish sauce, lime juice, and a touch of sugar to brighten the flavors and add a crisp, clean accompaniment to your meal.

Roll It In Rice Paper

For a fun and interactive dining experience, offer rice paper rolls. Set out a platter of wet rice papers and bowls filled with warm water. Alongside, arrange plates of vermicelli noodles, lettuce, fresh herbs, and your sliced lemongrass chicken. Let everyone wrap their own rolls and dip them into a hoisin-peanut sauce or a traditional fish sauce-based dipping sauce.

Drizzle With Extra Sauce

To enhance the dish further, drizzle your chicken with a bit more sauce before serving. You can either use the juices left over from the cooking process or quickly whip up a sauce by mixing some fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar, and chili. This will inject an additional layer of moisture and flavor, enriching the overall dining experience.

By following these serving suggestions, you ensure that the presentation and accompaniments boost the exquisite flavors of your Air Fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken. Enjoy your meal with family and friends as you savor the fusion of textures and flavors that this dish offers.

Storage and Reheating Tips

After savoring your Air Fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, if you find yourself with leftovers, storing and reheating them properly can make all the difference in enjoying a second round of this flavorful dish.

Proper Storage

To store leftover lemongrass chicken, allow the chicken to cool down to room temperature before you proceed. This step is crucial to prevent bacterial growth. Once cooled, transfer the chicken pieces to an airtight container. If you have any sauce left, pour it over the chicken to keep it moist. Secure the lid and refrigerate. Properly stored, the chicken can last up to 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.

Freezing for Longer Storage

If you need to keep the chicken for a longer period, freezing is an effective option. Wrap each chicken thigh individually in cling film or aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Label the bag with the date, and you can safely store the chicken for up to 2 months.

Reheating for Best Flavor

When you’re ready to revisit your tasty dish, reheating correctly is key. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before reheating. This step helps to reheat the chicken more evenly.

In the Air Fryer

Reheat the chicken in the air fryer to maintain that desirable crispy texture. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they aren’t touching to allow for even air circulation. Heat for 4-6 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the skin is crisp again.

On the Stove

Alternatively, you can reheat the chicken on the stove. Simply heat a skillet over medium heat and add a little oil. Place the chicken in the skillet and cover it with a lid to trap in moisture. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through, until it’s completely warmed.

By following these tips, you ensure your Air Fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken remains just as delicious the second time around. Whether choosing to refrigerate or freeze, storing your chicken properly is critical for maintaining its flavor and safety.

Conclusion

Ready to dive into the vibrant flavors of your Air Fryer Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken? You’ve got all the tips and tricks to make this dish a standout. Whether it’s the first taste or a reheated serving, the richness and succulence will surely impress. So don’t hesitate to give it a try and let your taste buds revel in the delightful combination of lemongrass and tender chicken. Enjoy your culinary creation today and maybe even share the joy with friends and family!

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