Vietnamese Style Chicken Thighs

Somewhere buried in the cookery books that I rarely open these days lies a recipe for Vietnamese Roast Chicken. Somewhere on the blog, I cooked it. That was a few years ago. It is a worthy dish packed with delightful authentic Vietnamese ingredients that give a real flavour punch to the delicious chicken. I thought that I might try to get the same level of flavour and all round deliciousness cooking some free range chicken thighs in the sous vide. You can cook it in a traditional oven, under a grill or on a barbecue too and the instructions are below for that too. This is how I got on and I can only recommend to to you.

I cooked this for two of us, though, it would and even should, have served three hungry people. It is a couple of months since I cooked these and since starting to write this up, I realise that there is a real use for the “ingredients shot” that I use on my posts. I reckon that if I went to recreate this dish now, without the  benefit fo the below shot, I would end up using different ingredients. Worse still, I might have to set off my dust allergy by taking out that old cookery book. Anyway, back to the ingredients.


  • 6 or 7 large, free range, skin-on, bone in chicken thighs
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass
  • 6 or 8 spring onions
  • 2 single bulb garlics or half a bulb of other good garlic
  • 2 red chilis, medium size, medium heat
  • 5 cm piece of fresh root ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of a lime or two
  • A big bunch of coriander

Remove the outer skin from the lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Roughly chop up the lemongrass, ginger and garlic, chilli, spring onions and most of the coriander, including the stalks. Zest the lime. Reserve the lime(s) for juicing later.

Very neat chopping, though I say so myself.

This shot is in here purely for the lovely colours.

Stuff all of this into the food processor along with the fish sauce and sugar (or if you like and as I did) into a blender to form a nice thick paste.

The paste is eye watering (literally).

Put the chicken into a vacuum bag (a plastic one for vacuum sealing, not a vacuum cleaner bag) and seal it using any of the three methods, water displacement if using Zip Loc, extraction or chamber vacuum. When we redid the kitchen a while back, I installed a chamber vacuum. It’s a great device.

This is a really handy gadget, though, not cheap!

Throw the chicken into the fridge and leave overnight. This will allow the flavours to really permeate the meat.

Sous Vide

If you are going to use the sous vide, cook the chicken at 64ºC for two and a half to three hours. They will look pretty unspectacular when they come out. Pop them into a very hot oven for ten minutes, spooning over some bag juices/flavourings as you go.

It looks pretty skanky when out of the bag before going in the oven.

The remaining bag sauce needs to be put into a saucepan, reduced and heated. It is packed with flavour and adds a lot to this dish.

Post sous vide bag contents make a great sauce.


If you are cooking them in a regular oven, 220ºC fan for ten minutes then 180ºC for about 20 minutes after that.


If you plan to cook them on the barbecue, take your time, do them nice and low. Flare-ups and drama are not your friends in this. Spoon some of the bag contents over the chicken as you go.


Same as the barbecue instructions with more attention to avoiding the fire, as you are indoors.

That sauce is a delight. It’s worth doing the sous vide just for the sauce.

Squeeze the lime juice over and spoon on the sauce (if doing sous vide). Serve them with boiled rice and some of the remaining coriander leaves. You will not be disappointed. This is a really flavoursome meal for two or three people. I hope you try it.

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Latest comments
  • This goes on my list for next week!!!!! will keep you posted

  • Might try this out on the Husband, with a slightly reduced level of chilli! Oh, and I’ll probably use boneless thighs simply because it means I get more surface area on which to smear this very tasty if somewhat blistering sauce. I also reckon cold leftovers would go a bomb on a fresh crusty roll, Banh Mi style.

  • What a delight to fond this here . . . . Vietnamese has well and truly been my favourite cuisine over the past decade or so and this as truly fits the ‘authentic’ and not just ‘-style’ bill. Make a similar dish, using homegrown lemongrass, spring onions et al . . . but have oft cooked it stove top with the ingredients finely chopped and not paste-like as usual in Thai cuisine. Actually do not remember baking it in the oven – simplicity dictates I try this next ! And I always pat myself on the back when I can prepare the almost daily banh mi rolls with meats not processed . . . . a lovely read, Conor . . . . hope you and your beloved are well . . .

  • Wonderful. I’ve never used a marinade or any juices left in bags after a sous vide. I really need to do that! Such beautiful photos, Connor.

  • Wow, does this sound good. And your photographs are just Incredible. Wow!

  • A grand dish that will sit on our table well and soon. I also like to use of the bag juices, I try to incorporate them in the dish or in a soup or such. Although I know the chicken is smashing, I think I could make a meal of the bag juice and the rice…

  • Not sure how I missed this one. Looks AMAZING! I have none of the ingredients except for the fish sauce, brown sugar, and a small nub of ginger somewhere deep in the freezer. I tried braving the supermarket yesterday, but even mid-day on a Thursday it was pretty crowded — and more than one person took off their masks to cough (?????) — so I only picked up a few bits and bobs and a couple of essentials before I said forget it. I did get some fresh-out-of the grinder beef mince, so there’s that. Now I have to figure out what I can do with the odd items I picked up. 😂

  • This recipe alone would be worth venturing to the market for a quick in and out to see if I can find the needed ingredients for this recipe. My husband was just asking for something different but it is challenging when you are having some else doing your shopping for you.

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