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Sunday Dinner: Roasted Lemongrass Chicken

Everyone I know is crazy about Thai food. I'm not sure how much longer the craze will last (I think North African is going to become the new Thai, which was the new Chinese), so while everyone is still gaga for it, I've decided that I should find some Thai inspired recipes to share. For tonight's Sunday Dinner I've decided to treat you to a Roasted Lemongrass Chicken. It's fragrant and moist and can be served with or without a Sweet Lime Sauce. For the recipe

Roasted Lemongrass Chicken with Sweet Lime Sauce
From Darlene Schmidt at Your Guide to Thai Food
Photo by D. Schmidt

1 whole medium-sized roasting chicken
1 stalk lemongrass (look for stalks that are fragrant and tightly formed)
4 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tsp dark soy sauce
1 kaffir lime leaf (optional)

1/2 can thick coconut milk
lime wedges and fresh coriander as a garnish

Optional Sauce:
1 cup water
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, minced or grated finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fish sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 heaping tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch powder, dissolved in 3 tbsp water

  • Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Place lemongrass, garlic, galangal or ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime leaf, and coconut milk in a food processor (or blender). Process well.
  • Place chicken in your roasting pan, and pour marinade over top. Using your hands, smother the chicken in the marinade. Leave in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours (1/2 an hour minimum).
  • When chicken is done marinading, add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan (you can mix it in with any marinade that has dripped down).
  • Cover and place in a 325 degree oven. Roast the chicken slowly and for a long period in order for it to be tender. Allow it to roast for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
  • Check the chicken every hour to make sure there is enough moisture in the bottom of the pan (add a little more water if it is becoming dry). While you have the chicken out, use a soup ladle to scoop up the juices from the bottom of the pan and pour over the chicken. Put back in the oven.
  • While chicken is roasting, make the sauce. In a saucepan, add all sauce ingredients except arrowroot powder (or cornstarch). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
  • Taste test for sweetness and saltiness, adding more honey if not sweet enough, or more fish sauce (instead of salt) as desired. If you prefer a spicy sauce, add some fresh chilli or chilli sauce.
  • Add the arrowroot or cornstarch powder dissolved in the water. Stir and continue to simmer until sauce thickens. (If it becomes too thick to your liking, add more lime juice and water.)
  • Serve the roasted chicken on a platter, either whole or chopped into pieces. Drizzle some of the sauce overtop, then pour the rest around the outside of chicken, or serve it on the side. Garnish with lime slices or wedges, and fresh sprigs of coriander. Serve with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice (or potatoes if you prefer), and enjoy!
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