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Turmeric and lemongrass chicken on sugarcane

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for turmeric and lemongrass chicken on sugarcane.

By Alice Storey & Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus marinating, cooling, pickling, resting
  • Serves 8
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Turmeric and lemongrass chicken on sugarcane
You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 5 coriander roots, soaked to remove dirt and scraped
  • 15 gm (about 2 pieces) turmeric
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light palm sugar, crushed
  • 12 chicken thigh fillets, skin scored
  • 2 sugarcane stalks, about 30cm long each
Cucumber pickle
  • 60 ml white vinegar (¼ cup)
  • 60 gm caster sugar (¼ cup)
  • 4 red shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 birdseye chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced


  • 1
    Pound peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Set aside. Pound garlic, coriander, turmeric and lemongrass in mortar and pestle until a paste forms, add fish sauce and sugar and stir to combine. Rub over chicken and marinate in a non-reactive container overnight.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for cucumber pickle, combine vinegar, sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar, then set aside to cool. Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate to pickle (6 hours-overnight). Transfer to a sterilised container. Cucumber pickle will keep refrigerated for a week.
  • 3
    Split sugarcane stalks in half lengthways with a large chef's knife or cleaver, then cut into thirds. Thread a chicken thigh onto each sugarcane skewer.
  • 4
    Heat a barbecue (or char-grill pan) to medium and grill chicken, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (20-25 minutes). Set aside to rest (5 minutes), then serve with cucumber pickle.