• Grilled lemongrass chicken with chilli salt and cumquat (The Chefs' Line)

Lemongrass chicken is one of those recipes that you'll want to have up your sleeve at the next dinner party and this version calls on red and green salts, fresh cumquat, Vietnamese mint and jasmine rice, to finish. The Chefs' Line 






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  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 800 g), feet and head intact if possible

Lemongrass sate

  • 3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large red Asian shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 4 lemongrass stems, pale part only, coarsely chopped
  • 30 g dry red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce


  • 100 g gula melaka (dark palm sugar), grated
  • 50 ml fish sauce 
  • 80 g lemongrass sate (see above)

Green chilli salt

  • 2 g scud chillies, chopped
  • 20 g green chillies, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 50 g salt    

Red chilli salt

  • 2 g bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 20 g red chillies, chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped 
  • 50 g salt

Annatto oil

  • 250 ml (1 cup) garlic oil
  • 1 tsp annatto seeds

To serve

  • Halved cumquats 
  • Vietnamese mint 
  • Lettuce cups 
  • Steamed jasmine rice

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat a charcoal barbecue.

For the lemongrass sate, place the garlic, shallot, lemongrass and chilli in a small food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Add chilli mixture and cook until the mixture begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring regularly for 20-25 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce, then remove from the heat and stand to cool completely before refrigerating. This will make more than you need for this recipe but will keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.

For the marinade, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine, making sure the palm sugar has dissolved.

Chop the chicken in half and rub all over with the marinade. Set aside.

For the green chilli salt, pound the chilli and garlic in a mortar, then add the salt and pound to a paste. Transfer to a small dry frying pan and stir over low heat until dry. Remove and set aside.

Repeat the process for the red chilli salt.

For the annatto oil, place the garlic oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the annatto seeds, remove from the heat and stand for 3- 4 minutes to infuse. Drain and discard the annatto seeds.

Brush the chicken all over with the annatto oil. Grill the chicken over the charcoal on medium-low heat, turning and basting with the annatto oil and any remaining marinade until golden and cooked through. Remove and set aside to rest.

To serve, chop the chicken and serve with the chilli salts, cumquat, Vietnamese mint and jasmine rice.

This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!