Asian Recipes/ Curry/ Dinner/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry

16/11/2020

Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry features juicy chicken simmered down with fresh lemongrass and aromatic spices for an easy weeknight curry. Serve it as a main meal with rice or as a tasty side dish alongside Burmese stuffed eggplants.

A bowl of lemongrass chicken curry with white rice.

Why We Love This

This is such an easy weeknight meal! Most of the cooking time is hands-off / lid on while the chicken simmers in the fragrant Burmese spice mix.

This chicken lemongrass curry has a milder flavour profile than our Burmese eggplant curry, so you can serve it as a standalone curry without side dishes. Although we always recommend serving it with freshly cooked rice to soak up all that delicious flavour!

It’s such a versatile curry recipe too – you can make it with chicken, fish, tofu or even a mix of your favourite veggies. Or for a fragrant yellow curry with seafood, try our Indonesian Kari Ikan with creamy coconut.

Two bowls of lemongrass chicken curry next to a small bowl of white rice.

What is Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry? 

This deliciously aromatic Burmese chicken curry bursts with a zesty hit of citrus from fresh lemongrass stalks. Just like Burmese eggplant curry, it starts off from a base of finely sliced shallots, diced tomatoes and other seasonings like ginger and garlic, with a supporting cast of Burma’s regular favourites: fish sauce and jaggery (palm sugar).

It’s very different to Vietnamese style lemongrass chicken, where the focus is more as a zesty marinade for grilled chicken. In this Burmese curry recipe, the chicken is simmered in the curry base, allowing all those bright and delicious flavours to soak into the chicken.

Where We Learned This Recipe

We first learned this recipe at Alice & Su’s Cooking School in Myanmar, where it’s one of their most popular authentic Burmese dishes!

What You’ll Need

  • Chicken – When we first made this in Myanmar we used large chicken pieces with the bone in. At home, we usually prefer to use diced chicken thigh which is deliciously juicy and really soaks up the curry flavour. We’ll sometimes use chicken breast instead when making this for one side of our family that doesn’t like chicken thighs.
  • Palm Sugar – Burmese style lemongrass chicken curry uses a natural sweetener known as jaggery, which in Myanmar is sourced from the Toddy Palm tree. You can find it as a syrup or as a crumbly fudgy ball of buttery caramel flavour, so good that you can eat it on its own. At home, we substitute with gula melaka, palm sugar or brown sugar depending on what we have on hand.
  • Fish Sauce – This staple Asian ingredient has a strong smell in the bottle, but isn’t fishy in the final dish, adding a delicious salty, savoury flavour to your cooking. You’ll find it at Asian grocers or in well-stocked supermarkets in the international foods section, or online.
  • Lemongrass – This spicy dish calls for long pieces of fresh lemongrass which are partially crushed to help release all that delicious tangy flavour. If using whole lemongrass, be sure to remove it before serving. If you can’t source fresh lemongrass, use 2 tbsp pre-sliced lemongrass (jarred or frozen) instead.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • For Extra Juicy Chicken – Use chicken thighs and chop them into larger pieces rather than smaller ones.
  • Use a Food Processor – If you can’t be bothered finely chopping the shallots and garlic, you can use a food processor instead and blitz them together for a few seconds until finely chopped. You could also grate the garlic and ginger if you prefer.

FAQs

What part of lemongrass should I use?

Traditionally, this recipe calls for a whole stem of fresh lemongrass. It’s crushed first, so all the beautiful flavour soaks through the rest of the dish, then removed before serving.

What should I serve with this curry?

We recommend serving this curry with freshly cooked white rice. If you’re looking for a more banquet style experience, serve it with Burmese eggplant curry, rice and salad.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Switch Up the Protein – Instead of chicken, you could use fish, vegetables or even firm tofu instead. If using fish, you could do what one of our readers did and lightly coat the fish in rice flour, then fry in ghee before adding in with the tomato mix.
  • Add Sauces – If you love curries with raita, tzatziki or chutney, feel free to use them for this dish too.
  • Amp Up the Heat – Add more chilli powder to your taste. Or for even more intense heat, swap for 1-2 birds eye chillies. These small chillies are deceptive – they really pack a punch! If you’re unsure, start with a small amount (even just half a chilli) until you’re familiar with the spice level.
  • Make it Creamy – Add a tin (400 ml) coconut milk or coconut cream instead of water.
  • Add Texture – Sprinkle fried shallots, fried garlic, crushed almonds or peanuts over the finished dish when serving.
  • Make it Vegetarian – Swap the fish sauce for soy sauce or coconut amino sauce. Instead of chicken, use sliced veggies such as carrot, zucchini, cauliflower and/or green beans.
  • Optional Garnish – Serve with a few fresh coriander leaves on top.
  • Leftover Chicken – If you have leftover chicken, why not try a completely different dish like Mexican Chocolate Chicken Mole!
Close up shot of Burmese chicken curry including the fresh lemongrass stalk.

More Asian recipes with Chicken:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry

Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry features juicy chicken simmered down with fresh lemongrass and aromatic spices for an easy weeknight curry. Serve it as a main meal with rice or as a tasty side dish alongside Burmese stuffed eggplants.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Curry
Cuisine: Burmese
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 347kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick wok or frying pan. Add the shallots and garlic and stir fry until translucent.
  • Add half of the tomatoes and cook over a medium high heat until soft. Add the remaining tomatoes and repeat. This is recommended to avoid the tomatoes becoming stodgy.
  • Add the ginger and lemongrass. Stir fry until the sauce becomes a richer, deeper red colour. Then add the chilli powder, turmeric, fish sauce, and palm sugar and stir.
  • Add the chicken pieces with 1 ½ cups of water and mix. Bring to a boil on high for 5 minutes. Then, cover and simmer on a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Finish the curry by removing the lid and allowing the sauce to cook down and thicken (approximately another 15 minutes).
  • Remove the lemongrass pieces, and serve with steamed white rice.

Recipe Notes

  • Chicken – When we first made this in Myanmar we used large chicken pieces with the bone in. At home, we usually prefer to use diced chicken thigh which is deliciously juicy and really soaks up the curry flavour. We’ll sometimes use chicken breast instead when making this for one side of our family that doesn’t like chicken thighs. For extra juicy chicken – Use chicken thighs and chop them into larger pieces rather than smaller ones. 
  • Palm Sugar – The authentic lemongrass chicken curry recipe uses a natural sweetener known as jaggery, which in Myanmar is sourced from the Toddy Palm tree. You can find it as a syrup or as a crumbly fudgy ball of buttery caramel flavour, so good that you can eat it on its own. At home, we substitute with gula melaka, palm sugar or brown sugar depending on what we have on hand.
  • Lemongrass – This spicy dish calls for long pieces of fresh lemongrass which are partially crushed to help release all that delicious tangy flavour. If using whole lemongrass, be sure to remove it before serving. If you can’t source fresh lemongrass, use 2-3 tbsp pre-sliced lemongrass (jarred or frozen) instead.
  • Use a Food Processor – If you can’t be bothered finely chopping the shallots and garlic, you can use a food processor instead and blitz them together for a few seconds until finely chopped. You could also grate the garlic and ginger if you prefer.
  • Variations:
    • Switch Up the Protein – Instead of chicken, you could use fish, vegetables or even firm tofu instead. If using fish, you could do what one of our readers did and lightly coat the fish in rice flour, then fry in ghee before adding in with the tomato mix.
    • Add Sauces – If you love curries with raita, tzatziki or chutney, feel free to use them for this dish too.
    • Make it Creamy – Add a tin (400 ml) coconut milk or coconut cream instead of water.
    • Amp Up the Heat – Add more chilli powder to your taste. Or for even more intense heat, swap for 1-2 birds eye chillies. These small chillies are deceptive – they really pack a punch! If you’re unsure, start with a small amount (even just half a chilli) until you’re familiar with the spice level.
    • Add Texture – Sprinkle fried shallots, fried garlic, crushed almonds or peanuts over the finished dish when serving.
    • Make it Vegetarian – Swap the fish sauce for soy sauce or coconut amino sauce. Instead of chicken, use sliced veggies such as carrot, zucchini, cauliflower and/or green beans.
    • Optional Garnish – Serve with a few fresh coriander leaves on top.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 543mg | Potassium: 955mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1663IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Misha
    20/02/2020 at 7:25 pm

    5 stars
    I made this with fish today. I bought fresh Ling fillets, a beautiful mild fleshy fish. Cubed, tossed in rice flour and lightly shallow fried in ghee, before adding it to the tomato mix. Only added about half a cup of water and simmered gently for 5 minutes. Perfect! Thank you 😊

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      24/02/2020 at 3:10 pm

      Oh yum, what a great idea to use ling fish in this sauce. That would be delicious! So glad it worked out. Yum!

  • Reply
    Palak
    09/01/2020 at 3:08 am

    How many people will this dish feed?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/01/2020 at 2:30 pm

      Two people for this amount, so please double it if you need more. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tejashri
    07/07/2019 at 1:03 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and it turned out perfect!! Thanks a lot for bringing this super easy but delicious dish. 😊

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/07/2019 at 2:00 pm

      Aww thanks Tejashri, so glad you liked it. Made our day! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    25/10/2015 at 6:16 pm

    I’ve got to try this because my husband adores lemongrass. Thanks for sharing the recipe! 😀

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      27/10/2015 at 12:54 am

      Awesome! The tomato base is great with any meat as well, we tried it with fish too and I think I might even like that version better. Good luck, let us know how you go!

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