For a light dinner with bright, fresh flavors, you can’t go wrong with these lemongrass chicken rice noodle bowls. They’re so easy to make and the combination of tender grilled chicken, crunchy fresh veggies, and sweet, tangy sauce is perfection!
If you’re looking for a quick dinner that’s not something you’ve made dozens of times before, these noodle bowls are exactly what you need in your life. The recipe is a Vietnamese-inspired dish made by layering simple ingredients in a bowl, then letting everyone add their favorite garnishes and toppings. The fragrant lemongrass chicken is marinated in a sweet-and-sour sauce, then seared on the grill before being added to bowls full of chewy noodles and crisp fresh vegetables. Serving with homemade nuoc cham and crispy fried shallots brings it all together.
Aside from the flavor, the other thing I love about this recipe is that it’s somehow light and filling at the same time. This is the time of year when we fill up on candy and sweets and cheesy casseroles, and these noodle bowls are the perfect antidote. They’re not heavy, but they are oh-so-satisfying!
What You’ll Need
Make sure you click through to the nuoc cham recipe and grab the ingredients for that if you don’t have them on hand already!
- Lemongrass – You can find this in the produce section; sometimes with the packaged herbs, other times alongside turmeric and ginger roots, small chiles, etc.
- Granulated sugar
- Avocado oil or another neutral oil
- Fish sauce
- Soy sauce – You can use tamari in place of soy sauce if that’s what you have on hand.
- Black pepper
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs – You can substitute another cut of chicken if you like.
- Rice stick noodles (maifun) – Rice noodles come in a range of thicknesses and are white in color. You can usually find them in the section with other Asian food ingredients. Another type of noodle or rice can be used instead.
- Persian cucumber – Use a vegetable peeler to shave it into thin strips.
- Matchstick carrots – Make things easier for yourself by buying pre-cut matchstick carrots!
- Unsalted roasted peanuts or cashews
- Crispy fried shallots or onions – Use store-bought or make your own by frying thinly sliced shallots or onions in oil until crisp; drain on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Nuoc Cham – You’ll have to make this yourself, but it’s a simple recipe. The sweet and tangy flavors are the perfect complement to this dish.
How Do You Prepare and Cut Lemongrass?
Lemongrass is a little bit like a leek in that only the very bottom is edible. Here’s how to prep it:
- Remove any loose, tough outer leaves.
- Trim the very bottoms off of each stalk.
- Slice through the pale, yellow-white parts at the bottom of the stalks.
- When you reach a point where the stalks are tougher to cut, feel woody, and are darker in color, stop slicing—this is the part that’s tough and not good for eating. Discard it or use it to infuse sauces, broths, or stocks with flavor.
- Roughly chop the rounds you’ve cut.
How To Make Lemongrass Chicken Rice Noodle Bowls
It might seem like a lot goes into this recipe, but once you’ve conquered the marinade, it’s all smooth sailing from there.
Make the marinade. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a mini food processor and pulse about 10 times until you have a coarse puree. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Marinate the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and place them in the bowl with the marinade. Use your hands to coat and massage the chicken in the marinade, then thread it onto skewers. Marinate the chicken at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
Prepare the bowl ingredients. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions, then prepare the vegetables and nuoc cham.
Grill the chicken. Heat your grill to high, then cook the chicken, turning every so often, until it’s cooked through (it should reach an internal temperature of 165ºF).
Assemble. Divide the noodles into the bowls, followed by the vegetables, toppings, and lemongrass chicken.
Tips For Success
Here are some hints and tricks I’ve picked up along the way for making this recipe:
- Make it in advance. To get a head start on this recipe, cover and refrigerate the marinated uncooked chicken skewers overnight; let them come to room temperature before grilling. The noodles can also be cooked, covered, and stored in the refrigerator overnight. They can be warmed up in the microwave or served cold in the bowls.
- Use the lemongrass stalks as skewers. If you don’t have metal or wooden skewers on hand, you can skip buying them and use the tough tops of the lemongrass stalks as skewers instead.
- Soak your wooden skewers. If you are using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water for 5-10 minutes before you grill the meat.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover noodle bowls are the perfect work lunch! I recommend storing the vegetables separately from the noodles and lemongrass chicken to keep them nice and crisp. You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days; I don’t recommend freezing them.
Try More Of These Grilled Chicken Recipes
- Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken
- Grilled Maple Sriracha Chicken Kebobs
- Grilled Peri Peri Chicken Drumsticks
- Grilled BBQ Chicken
Lemongrass Chicken Rice Noodle Bowls
For the marinade:
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped lemongrass
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallot
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons avocado oil or another neutral oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ⅜ teaspoon black pepper
For the rest of the dish:
- 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1: 8 ounce package uncooked rice stick noodles (maifun)
- Persian cucumber, shaved into thin strips
- Matchstick carrots
- Unsalted roasted peanuts or cashews, coarsely chopped
- Crispy fried shallots or onions, optional
- 1 cup Nuoc Cham
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- Pulse all marinadd ingredients in a mini food processor. It'll take about 10 pulses to resemble a slightly coarse puree. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and place into marinade bowl. Using your hands, coat and massage the chicken in the marinade then thread onto skewers. If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 5-10 minutes prior. Let chicken marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
- In the meantime, cook the noodles per package instructions and prepare all the toppings and Nuoc Cham.
- When chicken is done marinading, turn outdoor grill on high. Cook chicken on the grill, turning every so often until chicken is cooked through (165 °F internal temperature).
- Assemble your noodle bowl with a bed of noodles, veggies/toppings, and skewered chicken on top.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.