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Close up shot of Burmese lemongrass curry in a bowl with rice.

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.
Course Curry
Cuisine Burmese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 347kcal
Cost $15




  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick wok or frying pan. Add the shallots and garlic and stir fry until translucent.
    2 tbsp vegetable oil, 3 shallots, 2 cloves garlic
  • 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.
    2 tomatoes
  • 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.
    3 sticks lemongrass, 1 cm ginger, 1 ½ tsp chilli powder, 1 ½ tsp fish sauce, ½ tsp turmeric, 1 ½ tsp palm sugar
  • 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).
    250 g chicken pieces, 1.5 cups water
  • Remove the lemongrass pieces, and serve with steamed white rice.


  • 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.


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