My deliciously crispy Vietnamese fried chicken is a fresh take on classic fried chicken, absolutely packed with Asian-inspired flavor. Drumettes and wings are marinated in a vibrant combination of lemongrass, garlic and ginger, then dipped into a wet batter to create an extra crispy exterior, making this Vietnamese fried chicken recipe an absolutely mouthwatering pick!
Fried Chicken with a Vietnamese Twist
Friends, every now and then that intense craving for hot, juicy and extra crispy fried chicken hits, and nothing else will suffice. Can you relate?
Fried chicken is a unique indulgence and when one takes that first bite and that little bit of steam escapes from a hot piece, and that bit of juice comes to surface...well, let's just say it's pure heaven!
If you know me, then you know that I love to play around with classic recipes, giving them unique flavor profiles, and fried chicken is a terrific pick to do just that with.
Seeing as I absolutely adore Vietnamese food, I thought I'd have a go at turning classic fried chicken into Vietnamese fried chicken for extra flavor and something a little unique.
Chicken pieces are marinated in an ultra flavorful combination of fish sauce, a touch of brown sugar, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and a hint of chili garlic sauce for at least two hours, ideally overnight. Talk about a flavor explosion!
And to get that extra crispy exterior? I use a wet batter, then give the chicken a quick fry in hot oil until golden, crispy and juicy on the inside—it's absolutely irresistible!
My Recipe for Vietnamese Fried Chicken
Vietnamese cuisine uses some wonderfully aromatic ingredients that impart a lot of flavor into food, which makes them perfect for use in a marinade for fried chicken, giving it a more intense, juicy and delicious flavor.
For this recipe, I chose to use drumettes and wings for ease, since they'e a little smaller and quicker to fry.
And for the marinade, I used lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime, a whisper of fish sauce and a hint of brown sugar, along with some sambal (chili sauce) for extra heat.
But rather than doing the traditional dry flour dredge with this Vietnamese fried chicken, I prepared a wet batter which uses equal parts flour and cornstarch, a touch of baking powder, a little bit of extra seasoning such as salt, pepper, white pepper and cayenne (we like our stuff spicy), and some water.
The wet batter has the consistency of pancake batter, and clings lightly to the chicken as it gets dipped into the hot oil for frying, resulting in golden, light, crispy, delicate fried chicken!
Here's a sneak peek at my Vietnamese fried chicken recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I marinate my chicken for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight for extra flavor.
- When ready to fry, I prepare a wet batter and set aside while I heat my oil.
- Once the oil is hot, I work in batches dipping the drumettes and wings into the batter and then gently placing into the hot oil to fry until golden and crispy.
- Then, I place the fried chicken onto a wire rack and into the oven for a few moments to crisp the chicken a bit more.
- I serve with chili garlic sauce on the side for dipping.
Vietnamese Fried Chicken
by Ingrid Beer
Crispy and delicious, this Vietnamese fried chicken is marinated in lemongrass, ginger, garlic and fish sauce for loads of umami flavor!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 246 calories (3 pieces)
Prep Time: 20 minutes (does not include marination time)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Vietnamese Fried Chicken Ingredients:
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 small stalk lemongrass (upper pale yellow part only), finely minced (about a scant tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 pounds chicken wing pieces (drumettes and wings)
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Chili garlic sauce, for dipping (optional)
Wet Batter Ingredients:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 ¾ cups cold water
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your Vietnamese fried chicken ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce with the remaining ingredients up to and including the grated ginger, until well combined. Place the chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag, and pour the marinade mixture over top, squish around to incorporate, and zip closed. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- When you're ready to fry the chicken, fill a medium-size pot or cast-iron skillet with about 3 to 4 cups of oil (enough to submerge the chicken in), and slowly begin heating it until it reaches 365°.
- Preheat your oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with foil and a wire rack, if you have one.
- Drain the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off.
- Next, gather and prep all of your wet batter ingredients according to the ingredient list above to ready and organized for use.
- To make your batter, whisk together the flour with the remaining ingredients up to and including the white pepper, then add in the cold water. Whisk the batter until it is completely smooth, and has the consistency similar to a pancake batter.
- Once your oil is at temp, add about half of your chicken pieces into the batter, allowing each piece to drip off any excess batter before adding the chicken to the hot oil. Fry the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until a deep golden-brown, then lift out of the oil and place onto the wire rack over the baking sheet to hold. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- Once all the chicken is fried, place the baking sheet with the fried chicken into the oven to give it a finishing “crisping up”, for about 10 minutes.
- Place onto a platter, garnish with cilantro, and serve with chili garlic sauce to dip, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for Vietnamese fried chicken recipe:
- Marination is key for Vietnamese fried chicken: The longer you can marinate this chicken the better! I go overnight with mine, and it yields incredibly juicy and flavorful meat. But do marinate at least 1 to 2 hours for good flavor.
- Add more spice, or leave it out altogether: Since we like our food on the spicier side, we add a generous amount of sambal to the marinade, but feel free to leave it out altogether for milder flavor.
- Get the oil nice and hot: This is a great opportunity to use a clip on thermometer, as you need to get the frying oil nice and hot (365°) before you start frying. If the oil isn't hot enough, the chicken will take on more oil and become greasy. And if the oil is too hot, it may burn quickly.
- Finish the fried chicken in the oven: I like to get my Vietnamese fried chicken extra golden, crispy and done, so after I fry, I place it on a wire rack and into a 350° oven for about 10 minutes and it turns out perfect!
- Serve “au natural” or with chili sauce: This Vietnamese fried chicken truly needs no sauce, as it's quite flavorful enough served “au natural”. But sambal, which you can readily find in most markets these days, is a great dipping sauce to serve alongside.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with even more love!