1of9James Syhabout dishes up his Laotian chicken stew that he made at his home in Oaklvà.

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Randi Lynn Beach / Special to The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less

2of9James Syhabout makes Laotian chicken stew at his home in Oaklvà.

Randi Lynn Beach / Special khổng lồ The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less

3of9Some of the ingredients chef James Syhabout uses for his home-style chicken stew.Randi Lynn Beach / Special to lớn The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less4of9Chef James Syhabout pounds shallots, garlic, lemongrass and chiles in a mortar that belonged to his mother: “I’ve never made this before,” he says of the stew, left, his mom made countless times.YOUR NAME / Special lớn The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less5of9James Syhabout uses a mortar and pestle to pound a mixture of shallots, garlic, lemongrass, và Tnhị chiles that he"ll use to lớn flavor his Laotian chicken stew at his trang chính in Oakland.Randi Lynn Beach / Special khổng lồ The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less6of9Small round Tnhị eggplants are key to lớn the aromatic chicken stew.Randi Lynn Beach / Special to The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less7of9James Syhabout makes Laotian chicken stew at his trang chính in Oaklvà.Randi Lynn Beach / Special to The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less8of9James Syhabout makes Laotian chicken stew at his trang chủ in Oaklvà.Randi Lynn Beach / Special to The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less9of9Chef James Syhabout at his home in Oakland: “I’ve sầu eaten this chicken stew a million times,” he says before preparing the dish from memory.Randi Lynn Beach / Special khổng lồ The ChronicleShow MoreShow Less

Makes 4 generous servings

Note that the sticky rice must be soaked overnight (or up to lớn a week ahead) before using. This is also an excellent make-ahead dish because the flavor improves with time. You might want lớn have sầu the butcher cut the chicken into pieces (see ingredient list).

3 tablespoons sticky rice

1stalk lemongrass, woody exterior leaves removed, thinly sliced (about ½ cup total)

1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)

3 cloves garlic

5 Tnhị (birds eye) chiles, stemmed

tablespoons kosher salt

½ cup canola oil

2 pounds skin-on chicken drumsticks, cut crosswise through the bone into thirds

2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

2 tablespoons unfiltered fish sauce (pla ra)

6 Thai apple eggplants, stemmed & quartered

½ head green cabbage, cut inkhổng lồ 1-inch chunks

2 cups chopped (1½-inch) long beans

1 cup chopped (1-inch) fresh dill

Cooked white rice, for serving

1. Prepare the sticky rice.

Put the sticky rice in a bowl, add water lớn cover và soak overnight (or up lớn a week ahead).

When ready to lớn cook, drain the rice, then coarsely grind in a large mortar & pestle or molcajete. Transfer to a bowl và phối aside.

2. Make the seasonings.

Combine the sliced lemongrass, sliced shallot, garlic, chiles và 1 tablespoon of the salt in the mortar; pound with the pestle until the reduced lớn a thiông xã paste.

Both lemongrass stalks and whole Thai chiles can be frozen; stoông chồng up when you see them. Wrap the lemongrass stalks in plastic wrap before freezing; place the chiles in a plastic freezer bag for storage.

Place a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat và add the oil. Add the lemongrass mixture & cook, stirring occasionally, until very aromatic và beginning lớn soften. It should not brown; if it does, reduce the heat.

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“I start the aromatics cooking in a cold pan with cold oil,” Syhabout explains. “Otherwise the garlic would begin to lớn burn immediately upon hitting the pan.”

2. Cook the stew.

Add the chicken pieces & stir lớn coat with the lemongrass mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is opaque & trắng, about 5 minutes. Pour in water to cover the chicken by 1½ inches (about 3 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Stir in the two types of fish sauce, then the eggplant quarters. Cover and let simmer 15 minutes.

Remove the lid & stir in the cabbage and long beans. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 15 more minutes. By this point, the chicken should be tender but not falling from the bone, và the eggplant pieces should be soft and grey but still intact. Season khổng lồ taste with the remaining ½ tablespoon salternative text (depending on the brands of fish sauce you use, you may want more or less salt).

Syhabout uses two different types of fish sauce in this stew. Nam pla is the filtered amber liquid made from anchovies; he likes the Tiparos brand. Pla ra is a pungent, unfiltered fish sauce; it’s thicker, stronger in flavor and has a muddy gray appearance. Both phái nam pla và pla ra are available in Asian grocery stores.

3. Thicken the stew, và serve.

Stir in the pounded rice mixture, return the stew lớn a boil & cook until the liquid thickens slightly.

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the dill & ladle into lớn bowls. Serve sầu with cooked trắng rice alongside.

The vegetables can be varied according to your taste và what’s available. “It doesn’t really matter what you use,” Syhabout says, “but add harder vegetables earlier in the cooking process and more tender vegetables later so you don’t kết thúc up with vegetable mush.”

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