- 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
- 2 fresh Thai or serrano chile peppers, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic (about 6 medium cloves)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons noc mam or nam pla (Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated, fresh peeled ginger (about 1/3-inch piece)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, or more if needed for stir-frying
- 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onions (about 2 medium onions)
- 1 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 ounces dried cellophane noodles (bean threads), soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained and cut into 2-inch lengths (* Or leave out the noodles and serve over jasmine rice.)
- 1/3 cup dried tiny tree ear mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained
- 2 scallions (both green and white parts), trimmed and thinly sliced
Peel and discard the outer leaves of the lemongrass. With a sharp knife, cut off and discard the upper half of the stalks at the point where the leaves branch out. Thinly slice the remaining stalks.
Process the lemongrass, chile peppers, and garlic in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, the curry powder, grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar, the black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, mixing together until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When ready to stir-fry, heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and heat until smoking-hot. Add onions and stir-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the marinated chicken to the wok, adding more oil if necessary, and stir-fry until the chicken is golden on the outside and just cooked through on the inside, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, coconut milk, remaining tablespoon of fish sauce and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in the cellophane noodles and mushrooms. Continue to cook for a minute longer, until the noodles are transparent and soft, then remove from the heat and stir in the scallions. Transfer the stir-fry to a warm platter and serve immediately.
Adapted from The Best of Nicole Routhier, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang