David and Betty - Or Lam
(Laos Spicy Chicken Stew)
Prep time: 45 mins Cook time: 40 mins Serves: 4
3 tsp whole black peppercorns
15 Sichuan peppercorns
5 celery leaves
120g glutinous rice, washed, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
4 chicken thigh fillets
2 tsp peanut oil
Salt and pepper, to season
1L chicken stock
4 long dried red chillies, chopped
1 cup dried cloud ear fungus, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised, soaked in hot water
12 rattan shoots (see tip, below)
4 small finger eggplants, stems removed, cut vertically into partial quarters, leaving eggplant intact at base
2 snake beans, cut into 4cm lengths
50g baby pumpkin leaves, trimmed
3 dill sprigs
4 leaves sawtooth coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs padaek (pickled catfish)
1 bunch Thai basil, leaves picked
- To make infusion mixture, tie all ingredients in a small piece of muslin cloth.
- To make or lam, drain rice. Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush rice. Transfer to a steamer basket lined with muslin. Steam, covered, over a saucepan of boiling water for 25 minutes or until tender.
- Toss chicken with oil and season. Preheat a chargrill pan over high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning, for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Cut into 3cm pieces.
- Place stock and 500ml (2 cups) water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add infusion mixture in muslin cloth and dried chillies. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Drain fungus and finely chop. Add to stock. Drain lemongrass and add to mixture. Add rattan shoots and eggplants. Bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove half the dried chillies and half the eggplants and transfer to a food processor. Process until a coarse purée forms and return to pan.
- Stir in rice, beans and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes or until beans are tender and chicken is cooked through. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Discard infusion mixture. Divide stew among serving bowls to serve.