That Spicy Chick

Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry

This Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry is quick and easy to make and exploding with bright and fresh flavors! Ground pork and red bell pepper get tossed with aromatics in a savory, slightly sweet, and tangy Vietnamese stir-fry sauce! Sprinkle on some fresh coriander and mint leaves and enjoy it over a bed of warm steamed rice!

Overhead view of Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry garnished with coriander in mint leaves on rice in a bowl.

Friends, please meet this sweet, savory, spicy, and zingy flavor-bomb-diggity of a dish that has been gracing my kitchen and tantalizing my taste buds these past couple of weeks!

While I started out wanting to make a ground pork stir-fry version of Vietnamese caramelized pork, I realized that I’m not too crazy about overly sweet food (though desserts are a completely different story!) – something that is intrinsic to Vietnamese cuisine. But I am crazy about spicy food, quick and easy stir-fries, and anything that has an irresistible not-too-thin-not-too-thick flavorful sauce that can be beautifully soaked up by rice! 🤤

This Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry is so simple to make, yet SO full of flavor thanks to lemongrass, and other bold flavored aromatics like garlic and ginger. It’s also brightened up with lime juice, and fresh herbs like coriander and mint. It tastes fantastic over steamed rice, but I bet it’ll taste amazing with rice noodles such as vermicelli too. 😍

There’s less sugar in this dish (but you can add more if you like) than your typical Vietnamese-style pork. But this spicy pork stir-fry still has all the vibrant, savory, and salty notes that you can find in other Vietnamese dishes.

Best part? It’s ready in just 30 minutes! Quick and easy Asian stir-fries FTW! 🙌

Lemongrass pork stir-fry in a bowl with rice and garnished with coriander and mint leaves. Wok with the stir-fry and utensils in the back.

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s quick and easy to stir-fry on any given weeknight.
  • It’s flexible with your choice of protein. You can make it with ground pork, chicken, beef, turkey, and even crumbled tofu, Omnipork® or Beyond Beef® for vegetarian options.
  • All the BEST flavors are packed in this one tasty dish! Salty, sour, spicy, and sweet flavors play harmoniously together and complement each other.
  • The sauce is subtle and thin, yet incredibly flavorful thanks to saltiness from the soy sauces, and the tanginess from the lime juice and vinegar.
  • You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like by adjusting the amount of chilies you use.
  • It’s a one wok wonder, so there’s not much cleaning up to do after cooking. You can sit back and just enjoy your meal!

Guys, once you make this dish, you’re going to want to make it again, and again, and again like I have been doing so. 😉 Yes, it’s THAT GOOD! So gather all the ingredients, grab your wok, and let’s make this delicious Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry!

Labeled photo with fresh ingredients for Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry.

Ingredients

  • Ground Pork: Feel free to use ground chicken, beef, or turkey instead if you like. (See FAQs section below for vegetarian/vegan options.)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Canola Oil: Or use any other neutral flavored cooking oil.
  • Vietnamese stir-fry sauce: A quick and easy combination made with fish sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce (the thick and viscous type such as kecap manis), and distilled rice vinegar.
  • Aromatics: Garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Lemongrass is a fragrant aromatic that is widely used in the Southeast Asian cuisines. It’s incredibly flavorful and bright flavored. You can find it in wet markets and most supermarkets in Asia. In the U.S., you can try finding it in Asian supermarkets. If fresh lemongrass stalks are not easily available where you are, you can substitute with lemongrass paste, which can be found in most supermarkets. Lemongrass powder won’t taste the same, and I don’t recommend using it for this dish.
  • Red Chilies: Bird’s eye is preferred, but Holland or any other small red chilies will work. I like my food spicy, so I use quite a few of these bad boys! But feel free to use as many red chilies as you like depending on your heat level preference. You can deseed them if you prefer, or omit them entirely to make the dish mild.
  • Large Red Chilies (optional): These are mild in flavor and are more for color than heat. You can leave it out if you don’t have it on hand.
  • Veggies: Red onion and red bell pepper. You can use yellow or white onion, or even shallots if you don’t have red onion on hand. Capsicum/green bell pepper or yellow bell pepper would work too.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Corn Starch Slurry: This will help thicken the sauce and give the pork a shiny glaze. Mix four teaspoons of corn starch with ½ cup of water to make this. Be sure to mix the slurry again with a spoon just before adding into the wok because the corn starch will separate and settle at the bottom.
  • Lime Juice: As always, I recommend using freshly squeezed for best flavor. But if you don’t have a fresh lime on hand, you can use bottled lime juice in a pinch.
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper Chili Flakes: Use as much or as little as you like depending on your heat level preference. Or omit to make this dish mild.
  • Fresh herbs: Coriander (cilantro) and mint leaves. If you’re not a fan of coriander, leave it out or swap for spring onion (green onion) if you like.
Labeled photo with ingredients for Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry.

How to Make Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry

Prep:

  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop the red onion, lemongrass, ginger, red chilies, large red chilies, red bell pepper, garlic, coriander, and mint leaves.
  2. Make the sauce: Combine the fish sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup (the latter makes it easier to pour into the wok). Mix with a spoon to combine, then set aside.
  3. Make the corn starch slurry: Combine the corn starch and water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Mix with a spoon until combined and a slurry has formed, then set aside.
Photo collage of steps to make Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry.

For the Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry:

  1. Cook the ground pork: Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground pork and start breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon/spatula. Season with kosher salt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the pork has cooked through, use a slotted spoon to allow the excess grease/liquid to drip off into the wok and transfer to a clean bowl. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel and set it back on the stovetop. (Note: If using ground chicken, you can skip this step as ground chicken is leaner and won’t have extra fat. Add the ground chicken to the wok in step 3 and cook it through then.)
  2. Sauté aromatics and veggies: Heat 2 TBLS canola oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red onion, lemongrass, ginger, red chilies, and large red chilies. Sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Then add the red bell pepper and garlic and stir-fry for another minute to combine.
  3. Add pork back in: Add the ground pork back into the wok and toss to combine with everything else. (Note: If using ground chicken, add it to the wok now and season with kosher salt. Cook for about 2 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up the lumps as you go. Toss to combine with everything else in the wok.)
  4. Toss with sugar, sauce, and corn starch slurry: Add the brown sugar and pour in the sauce. Give the corn starch slurry a quick stir with a spoon (the corn starch will have settled at the bottom) and pour it into the wok too. Toss briefly to combine, then simmer for 2-3 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked off.
  5. Season: Season with black pepper, crushed red pepper chili flakes, and lime juice to taste and stir-fry to combine.
  6. Add herbs: Add in half of the coriander and half of the mint leaves. Give everything a good final toss to combine, then switch off the heat.
  7. Serve! Serve immediately with warm steamed rice, and garnish with the remainder coriander and mint leaves and extra chopped red chilies if desired.
Ground pork stir-fry with onion, chilies, red bell pepper, mint, and coriander in a black bowl with rice.

Full ingredient amounts/instructions in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips:

  • Prepare the ingredients first before you start stir-frying. Preparing all the ingredients first and having them next to your wok is essential because this stir-fry goes by very quickly. It’s best to have everything prepped and ready to go so that you don’t run the risk of overcooking or burning anything.
  • Chop the lemongrass finely. Be sure to peel off the outer layers of the lemongrass and use only the pale green/white part of the stalks. The outer layers are tough and chewy, and you don’t want that in your stir-fry. Also, finely mince the lemongrass so that you don’t end up with any hard or chewy parts in your mouth! Bruising the stalk with the back of your knife helps to soften it and make it easier to mince.
  • Use lean ground pork. Depending on how fatty your ground pork is, you may not have to cook it first in step 1 to get rid of the excess grease. If your pork is 90% lean and 10% fat, you can skip step 1 and cook the pork in step 3.
  • Time when you need to start cooking the rice so that it’s ready when the stir-fry is. I use a rice cooker and it takes about 25 minutes to cook rice in it. I start the rice cooker just before I start prepping the ingredients for the Lemongrass Pork Stir-Fry so that they both are ready around the same time.
  • Simmer the sauce for as long (or short) as needed to achieve your desired consistency. If you prefer less sauce and a thicker consistency, simmer for an extra minute or two in step 4 and/or add an extra teaspoon of cornstarch to the corn starch slurry. I generally like a thin to medium-thick sauce in my stir-fries so that it can be soaked up by the rice. Hence the water to corn starch ratio in my corn starch slurry is more. But adjust the simmer time and amount of corn starch in the slurry based on your personal preference.
Ground pork stir-fry with onion, chilies, red bell pepper, mint leaves, and coriander in a black bowl with rice and a spoon.

FAQs

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes. Use a gluten-free soy sauce (or Tamari or coconut aminos), and a gluten-free sweet soy sauce such as a gluten-free kecap manis. Also, double check the ingredients on your fish sauce and rice vinegar to make sure that they’re GF certified.

Can I make this vegetarian/vegan?

Yes. Use a vegan fish sauce and tofu, Omnipork®, or Beyond Beef® instead of the ground pork. If using tofu, I recommend crumbling the block first with your hands or a fork, then frying it in the wok until it’s mostly dry. Then transfer to a clean bowl and set aside. Add it back to the stir-fry when you’d add the ground pork in step 3, and follow the rest of the steps as indicated.

Can I make this refined sugar free?

Use honey to taste instead of the brown sugar. Also, omit the sweet dark soy sauce (store-bought sweet dark soy sauce is sweetened with molasses), and add an additional teaspoon of light soy sauce.

Spoon holding up a bite of lemongrass ground pork stir-fry and rice above a bowl with the stir-fry and rice. Wok with the stir-fry behind.

Can I add more/other veggies to the stir-fry?

Sure! Instead of using just a red bell pepper, you can mix things up and use half of a red bell pepper and half of a yellow or green one. If you’d like to add some greens, baby bok choy, baby spinach, or broccoli would be a great addition to this dish. Other veggie ideas are shredded carrot, snow beans, sugar snaps, and zucchini.

Can I omit the veggies?

I recommend keeping the onion for best flavor, but you can certainly get rid of the bell pepper if you’re not a fan. Alternatively, you can swap for other veggies of your choice. See above for some veggie options that’d taste good in this dish.

What can I serve this with?

I like to serve it with steamed white rice (we use short-grain Japanese rice mostly in my house). But steamed Thai Jasmine rice, brown rice, or quinoa or cauliflower rice for low-carb options would all taste great! Alternatively, you could also serve this with cooked rice noodles, vermicelli, udon, or Asian wheat noodles.

This stir-fry would also pair well with a simple stir-fried or steamed veggies dish like steamed broccoli, stir-fried bok choy with garlic, stir-fried water spinach (if it’s in season and easily available to you).

Can I make this ahead?

This stir-fry tastes best if served immediately or at least on the day of cooking. Having said that, it’ll keep for 3-4 days in sealed airtight container in the refrigerator. Feel free to make it 3-4 days in advance and/or use it for meal prep.

Is this freezer-friendly?

I have not tried freezing this dish and would not recommend doing so. This Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry is all about the bright and fresh flavors and freezing it, thawing it, then reheating it may dilute some of the flavors.

Spoon holding up a bite of lemongrass ground pork stir-fry with rice. Text overlay "Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry". Top view of bowl with pork stir-fry on rice.

More Easy Weeknight Stir-fries


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Overhead view of Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry garnished with coriander in mint leaves on rice in a bowl.

Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry

5 from 1 reviews

This Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry is quick and easy to make and exploding with bright and fresh flavors! Ground pork and red bell pepper get tossed with aromatics in a savory, slightly sweet, and tangy Vietnamese stir-fry sauce! Sprinkle on some fresh coriander and mint leaves and enjoy it over a bed of warm steamed rice!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
Scale

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

For the Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry:

  • 500 grams (1.1 pounds) Ground Pork (Or use ground chicken, turkey, or beef)
  • ½ TSP Kosher Salt
  • 2 TBLS Canola Oil (or any other neutral flavored cooking oil)
  • 1 Red Onion (Or yellow/white onion/shallots) – thinly sliced
  • 2 Lemongrass stalks (or substitute with 2 TBLS Lemongrass Paste) – Bottom woody part and upper tough part chopped off, outer layers removed and discarded, then sliced lengthwise through the middle and finely minced
  • ¾-inch knob of Ginger – peeled and minced (about 1 TBLS minced)
  • 1016 Red Chilies (Bird’s eye preferred, but Holland or any other small chilies will work too), to taste – deseeded if desired, chopped
  • 2 large Red Chilies (optional) – deseeded if desired, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1 medium to large-sized Red Bell Pepper (also known as capsicum, green or yellow bell pepper will work too) – cored and deseeded, thinly sliced, then sliced in half
  • 10 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 4 TSP Brown Sugar, or more to taste
  • 4 TSP Corn Starch + ½ cup Water (mixed together to make a slurry)
  • 1 TBLS freshly squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Chili Flakes, to taste
  • 23 TBLS chopped fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
  • 12 TBLS chopped fresh Mint Leaves
  • Toppings: Remainder chopped coriander and mint leaves, 1-2 finely chopped red chilies (optional)

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop the red onion, lemongrass, ginger, red chilies, large red chilies, red bell pepper, garlic, coriander, and mint leaves as indicated in the “Ingredients” section.
  2. Make the sauce: Combine the fish sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup (the latter makes it easier to pour into the wok). Mix with a spoon to combine, then set aside.
  3. Make the corn starch slurry: Combine the corn starch and water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Mix with a spoon until combined and a slurry has formed, then set aside.

For the Lemongrass Pork Stir-fry:

  1. Cook the ground pork: Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground pork and start breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon/spatula. Season with kosher salt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the pork has cooked through, use a slotted spoon to allow the excess grease/liquid to drip off into the wok and transfer to a clean bowl. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel and set it back on the stovetop. (Note: If using ground chicken, you can skip this step as ground chicken is leaner and won’t have extra fat. Add the ground chicken to the wok in step 3 and cook it through then.)
  2. Sauté aromatics and veggies: Heat 2 TBLS canola oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red onion, lemongrass, ginger, red chilies, and large red chilies. Sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Then add the red bell pepper and garlic and stir-fry for another minute to combine.
  3. Add pork back in: Add the ground pork back into the wok and toss to combine with everything else. (Note: If using ground chicken, add it to the wok now and season with kosher salt. Cook for about 2 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up the lumps as you go. Toss to combine with everything else in the wok.)
  4. Toss with sugar, sauce, and corn starch slurry: Add the brown sugar and pour in the sauce. Give the corn starch slurry a quick stir with a spoon (the corn starch will have settled at the bottom) and pour it into the wok too. Toss briefly to combine, then simmer for 2-3 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked off.
  5. Season: Season with black pepper, crushed red pepper chili flakes, and lime juice to taste and stir-fry to combine.
  6. Add herbs: Add in half of the coriander and half of the mint leaves. Give everything a good final toss to combine, then switch off the heat.
  7. To Serve: Serve immediately with warm steamed rice, and garnish with the remainder coriander and mint leaves and extra chopped red chilies if desired. 

Notes

  1. Prepare the ingredients first before you start stir-frying. Preparing all the ingredients first and having them next to your wok is essential because this stir-fry goes by very quickly. It’s best to have everything prepped and ready to go so that you don’t run the risk of overcooking/burning anything.
  2. Chop the lemongrass finely. Be sure to peel off the outer layers of the lemongrass and use only the pale green/white part of the stalk. The outer layers are tough and chewy, and you don’t want that in your stir-fry. Also, finely mince the lemongrass so that you don’t end up with any hard or chewy parts in your mouth! Bruising the stalk with the back of your knife helps to soften it and make it easier to mince.
  3. Use lean ground pork. Depending on how fatty your ground pork is, you may not have to cook it first in step 1 to get rid of the excess grease. If your pork is 90% lean and 10% fat, you can skip step 1 and cook the pork in step 3. Push the stir-fried aromatics and veggies to the side of the wok, then add the ground pork and stir-fry 2 minutes or until almost cooked through, then toss everything to combine and proceed with step 4.
  4. Time when you need to start cooking the rice so that it’s ready when the stir-fry is. I use a rice cooker and it takes about 25 minutes to cook rice in it. I start the rice cooker just before I start prepping the ingredients for the stir-fry so that they both are ready around the same time.
  5. Simmer the sauce for as long (or short) as needed to achieve your desired consistency. If you prefer less sauce and a thicker consistency, simmer for an extra minute or two in step 4 and/or add an extra teaspoon of cornstarch to the corn starch slurry. I generally like a thin to medium-thick sauce in my stir-fries so that it can be soaked up by the rice. Hence the water to corn starch ratio in my corn starch slurry is more. But adjust the simmer time and amount of corn starch in the slurry based on your personal preference.
  6. Can I make this gluten-free? Yes. Use a gluten-free soy sauce (or Tamari or coconut aminos), and a gluten-free sweet soy sauce such as a gluten-free kecap manis. Also, double check the ingredients on your fish sauce and rice vinegar to make sure that they’re GF certified.
  7. Can I make this vegetarian/vegan? Yes. Use a vegan fish sauce and tofu, Omnipork®, or Beyond Beef® instead of the ground pork. If using tofu, I recommend crumbling the block first with your hands or a fork, then frying it in the wok until it’s mostly dry. Then transfer to a clean bowl and set aside. Add it back to the stir-fry when you’d add the ground pork in step 3, and follow the rest of the steps as indicated.
  8. Can I make this refined sugar free? Use honey to taste instead of the brown sugar. Also, omit the sweet dark soy sauce (store-bought sweet dark soy sauce is sweetened with molasses), and add an additional teaspoon of light soy sauce.
  9. Can I add more/other veggies to the stir-fry? Sure! Instead of using just a red bell pepper, you can mix things up and use half of a red bell pepper and half of a yellow or green one. If you’d like to add some greens, baby bok choy, baby spinach, or broccoli would be a great addition to this dish. Other veggie ideas are shredded carrot, snow beans, sugar snaps, and zucchini.
  10. Can I omit the veggies? I recommend keeping the onion for best flavor, but you can certainly get rid of the bell pepper if you’re not a fan. Alternatively, you can swap for other veggies of your choice. See above for some veggie options that’d taste good in this dish.
  11. What can I serve this with? I like to serve it with steamed white rice (we use short-grain Japanese rice mostly in my house). But steamed Thai Jasmine rice, brown rice, or quinoa or cauliflower rice for low-carb options would all taste great! Alternatively, you could also serve this with cooked rice noodles, udon, or Asian wheat noodles. This stir-fry would also pair well with a simple stir-fried or steamed veggies dish like steamed broccoli, stir-fried bok choy with garlic, stir-fried water spinach (if it’s in season and easily available to you).
  12. Can I make this ahead? This stir-fry tastes best if served immediately or at least on the day of cooking. Having said that, it’ll keep for 3-4 days in sealed airtight container in the refrigerator. Feel free to make it 3-4 days in advance and/or use it for meal prep.
  13. Is this freezer-friendly? I have not tried freezing this dish and would not recommend doing so. This dish is all about the bright and fresh flavors and freezing it, thawing it, then reheating it may dilute some of the flavors.
  14. Recipe inspired by Marion’s Kitchen.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 544
  • Sugar: 13.4g
  • Sodium: 1373mg
  • Fat: 34.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 21.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 25.9g
  • Cholesterol: 90mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.