Yield: about 2 cups

About 15 stalks lemongrass
12 tbsp. sugar
12 fat cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium size onion, quartered
4 tsp. ground pepper
4 tsp. 5 spice powder (preferably Asian Gourmet brand)
4 tbsp. fish sauce or light soy sauce

Cut the bottom 8 inches of the lemongrass stalk. Peel the tough outer leaves until you get to the heart or the white stalk. Whack the heart stalk to release essential oils and mince.

Put all of the above ingredients in food processor or blender and blend to a fine paste.

The resulting paste is more of a concentrate. A little goes a long way.

To make Vietnamese lemongrass chicken just like you order at Vietnamese restaurants, rub about 1 heaping tsp. each on both sides of boneless chicken thigh that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Marinate overnight and remove from marinade. Barbecue over medium-high heat only till you get grill marks. Then finish in the oven heated to 375 degrees.

If you have any leftovers, slice and use as filling for salad rolls or banh mi ( Vietnamese sub)

For the Ginger Sesame dressing/marinade….. part 2 pictures

Yield: about 750 ml.

4 heaping tbsp. minced fresh garlic
4 heaping tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 cup light soy sauce
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup Sesame oil
1/2 cup Honey

Put the minced garlic and ginger in blender or food processor . Combine liquid ingredients in a clean, dry bowl and stir to blend with clean, dry spoon. With machine running, pour the liquid ingredients through the chute of food processor. Blend for a few minutes. Pour into clean, dry bottle and refrigerate. Use the next day.

This is my all purpose dressing/ marinade. I use it as a dressing over salad greens with puffed sotanghon or mung bean thread noodles topped with my home smoked chicken thighs.