Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken stir-fried in authentic Cambodian lemongrass paste, with chili, onion, and hot basil.

Cha Kroeung Saich Moun – Spicy lemongrass stir-fry chicken with prahok.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cambodian
Keyword: chicken, Curry Leaves, Hot Basil, kroeung, lemongrass
Servings: 6
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Channy Laux


  • A large wok


  • 3.5 ounces Angkor Lemongrass Paste
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp prahok paste*
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs ½” cubed
  • 3 ounces Fresno Chili pepper* sliced
  • 3 ounces onion sliced
  • 2 ounces hot basil*


  • Marinate the Meat: Marinate chicken with lemongrass paste, set aside.
  • Cook the Meat: Heat oil on low heat, add prahok and continue stirring until prahok is dehydrated and its color and texture are also changed. Add the marinated chicken, stir and cook until dehydrated. Continue cooking the meat, but do not stir to allow meat to brown.
  • Add Vegetable: Once one side of the meat gets a chance to brown, stir chili and onion. Salt to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in hot basil.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg


Serve with steamed rice.
* Substitution:
  • Prahok is optional.  It has very pungent aroma, and is an acquired taste for most people. If you’d like to try and this is the first time you cook with prahok I recommend use only half of the amount.  It can be substituted with one tablespoon of fish sauce.  
  • Fresno chili is not very spicy.  It can be substituted with any medium spiced chili.  Use red bell pepper if mild flavor is preferred over spicy.
  • Hot basil has unique flavor and aroma, thus it is not easy to substitute. However, the best one that my mother and I used while we were living in Lincoln, NE in early 80’s was oregano. Oregano has similar aroma, but much more intense in flavor and aroma.  Curry leaves are also great option for adding herb to the dish.  Or just add spinach or kale to add some green and good iron to the dish.  
    • For oregano, be sure to reduce the amount by at least 50 percent. 
    • For curry leaves, use 1/2 cup of leaves, roasting in hot oil, remove them and set aside prior to adding prahok. Once the cooking is completed, add the roasted leaves at the end mix well, and save some for garnish.
Tried this recipe?Mention @AngkorFood or tag #angkorfood, thank you!

Published by Channy Laux

Channy Laux is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. She was thirteen-years-old when the Khmer Rouge took over the country in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, Channy endured starvation, horrendous working conditions, sickness and repeated separations from her family. In June of 1979, Channy arrived in Lincoln Nebraska as a refugee. After four years of no school and not knowing a word of English, she attended Lincoln High School; earned a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from Santa Clara University and undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Channy worked in Silicon Valley as an engineer in the Aerospace and Biotech industries for 30 years. In 2017 Channy decided to focus on completing a promise that she made to herself as she and her family struggled to survive the Cambodian genocide. “If I ever make it out alive, I will make sure the world knows what happened to us.” Channy published her memoir “Short Hair Detention”, which receives multiple awards, including Nebraska’s 2018 Book Award. Channy is also founder of Angkor Cambodian Food. Her goal is to bring Cambodian cuisine into American kitchens, by providing authentic and hard to find ingredients along with easy to follow recipes. One of her creations Kroeurng (Lemongrass cooking paste) receives sofiTM Award from Specialty Foods and Innovation Foodservice Award from IFMA. Channy now balances her time between her business and educating communities on the Cambodian Genocide. She works with schools and other organizations to promote awareness of Cambodian Genocide. She is a member of Speakers Bureau for JFCS Holocaust Center.

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