How to cook: Vietnamese chicken and pineapple stir fry

Four years ago, I found a chicken and pineapple recipe from an American-published Vietnamese cookbook. A couple of weeks ago, in an episode of Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam, I watched chef Luke Nguyen cook a very similar dish using thinly sliced pork neck. The difference: Luke Nguyen’s recipe uses more herbs and spices traditionally associated with Vietnamese cuisine. In short, it appeared more authentic.

Fresh pineapple chunks were used in this recipe. I urge you to NOT substitute canned pineapple chunks as they will not expel any natural juices during cooking. It is the natural juice of the pineapple that really brings all the flavors together as the juice reduces and thickens over very high heat.

This is a stir fried dish which requires very high heat and short cooking time. See stir frying basics for more tips.

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thigh fillets, cut into thin strips
  • 2 red or green bell peppers (capsicum), diced
  • 2 bird’s eye chilies (or about 4 finger chilies), chopped
  • 1/4 c. of Chinese chives, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch lengths (best to measure after cutting)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a few slices of ginger
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, finely sliced (see tips)
  • 2 c. of fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
  • snipped cilantro, to garnish

For the marinade:

  • 2 tbsps. of patis (fish sauce)
  • 3 tbsps. of sugar
  • 2 tbsps. of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of grated ginger

Instructions

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the chicken, mix well and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the cooking oil in a pan. When very hot (you’ll see smoke start to appear), drain the chicken (reserve the marinade) and add to the oil. Cook, stirring and tossing alternately, until lightly browned around the edges. Scoop out and keep warm.
  3. In the remaining oil in the pan, saute the garlic, ginger, chives, lemongrass and chilies until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the pineapple chunks.
  5. Pour in the marinade. There will be very little liquid but, trust me, that little liquid is packed with flavors. So, use it.
  6. Without lowering the heat, stir fry for a couple of minutes to cook the chicken through. The pineapple chunks should expel enough juices in which the chicken can cook completely.
  7. Taste the sauce (there will be very little). Add more fish sauce, sugar or rice wine vinegar, as needed.
  8. Sprinkle with snipped cilantro to garnish.
  9. Serve hot with rice.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

  • chasen

    can i use cane vinegar instead of rice wince vinegar? thanks.

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      They don’t taste the same and they don’t smell the same. If you still want to substitute, go ahead, but I can’t guarantee that the result will be good.

      • Anna Magno

        HI Ms Connie,

        I am a Pinoy student here in the Netherlands, and I guess I can only use canned pineapples :( Thank you for your wonderful website and I will definitely try your good recipes :)

        God bless!

  • http://www.mybirthdayvenue.com/functions/ Kyle Stratford

    Wow, this is delicious and handy! Thanks for posting the recipe and I do appreciate you mentioning that warning part about using canned pineapples. It just works as a substitute, you know.

    But for this recipe, I don’t think I can afford to sacrifice the taste especially when you mentioned the juiciness part. I would like to have that juicy part, too!

  • Connie

    Canned may be convenient but not a worthy substitute in this case. :)