Lemongrass Chicken 

In keeping with the ‘cooking on a budget’ theme, another great meal to have at home is this lemongrass chicken. 

This is a Vietnamese-style dish that is absolutely to die for. If you love lemongrass and the inimitable Vietnamese fish sauce, then you’ll want to master this recipe for your repertoire. I cook this dish in the air fryer, but you can also pop your chicken into the oven. 


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or eliminate if you prefer non-spicy


Bring together all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them into a paste. You can also create a paste using a pestle and mortar if you fancy. 

Next, massage the marinade into the chicken thighs. Ideally, leave them overnight in the fridge, if you have time. Otherwise, at least two hours of marination is required for the best results. 

Don’t forget to bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking. Lay in a single layer on the air fryer rack and cook at 200°C for 25 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway if you like to create a crunchy crust on the skin on both sides. 

I always opt to use baking paper in the air fryer to trap all the juices, which creates a sauce to drizzle on your chicken at the end. It also saves time with the cleaning. If you do not have an air fryer, you can do the same in an oven at 200°C for 20–25 minutes on a pan, flipping halfway. 

Sprinkle some spring onions and some of the sticky sauce at the bottom of the paper or pan before serving, with a side of hot steamed jasmine rice. 

ManggaSoul Cocktail 

Local cocktail master Gonçalo Baltazar Santos has kindly allowed me to pair one of my dishes with a very special cocktail, ManggaSoul, featuring lemongrass, to mimic the flavours in this very special chicken dish. 


  • 50ml Alma gin
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 12.5ml lemongrass syrup
  • 37.5ml mangu puree
  • 3–5 basil leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper


This cocktail is super easy to make! Bring all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice. Shake, sieve and pour to enjoy! 

Gonçalo is bartender extraordinaire at Bon Vivant, Rua 25 de Abril 105, Lagos. 

Joy Entry is a Malaysian home cook based in Lagos who is obsessed with the provocative, unapologetic flavours of South-East Asian cuisine 

Instagram: @thatasianhomecook



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