The Chef: Donny Sirisavath
The Restaurants: Khao Noodle Shop in Dallas
What They’re Known For: Thai and Lao street food and noodle dishes inspired by the foods he grew up on. Spinning a buzzy series of pop-up dinners into an award-winning restaurant.
LIKE MANY of the dishes at Khao Noodle Shop, in Dallas, this stew has been a favorite of chef Donny Sirisavath’s since childhood. “It’s a fall dish. It warms your stomach,” he said. “It’s also really comforting to me because it reminds me of my mom.”
Mr. Sirisavath’s third Slow Food Fast recipe begins with a quick sauté of chicken thighs, lemongrass, ginger and makrut lime leaves. Galangal root is optional here but brings a wonderful peppery note.
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Next the chicken simmers with eggplant, bok choy and squash. Butternut, acorn or even summer squash will work here. The sauce is fragrant with dill; a little cornstarch does wonders for the consistency. “It should be velvety but not too thick,” Mr. Sirisavath said. “A little thinner than a roux.”
Mr. Sirisavath has a smart tip for the eggplant, too. “We always soak it before cooking, even if it’s just for a bit. It makes it less stringy,” he said. He recommends tasting as you go, adjusting the seasonings to allow the lively lemongrass and makrut lime to shine through. “It should be fresh and earthy,” he said. Topped with more dill and served with rice, it’s a one-pot meal to brighten the long, chilly nights ahead.
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 quarts plus ¼ cup water, plus more for soaking
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 6-inch lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced
- 6-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 3-inch piece galangal root, thinly sliced (optional)
- 3 tablespoons makrut lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 Thai chiles, halved
- ⅓ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pound squash such as butternut, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 heads baby bok choy, stems thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup finely chopped dill, plus more for garnish
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Cooked sticky or jasmine rice, for serving
- In a bowl, soak eggplant cubes in water at least 5 minutes. Drain.
- Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook until skin browns, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and add garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, if using, makrut leaves and Thai chiles. Sauté until aromatic, 2-3 minutes. Add 2 quarts water, fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir in drained eggplant, squash and bok choy.
- In a small bowl combine cornstarch and ¼ cup water. Stir cornstarch mixture and dill into stew. Continue cooking until chicken cooks through, about 15 minutes more. Stir in scallions.
- Ladle stew into shallow bowls. Garnish with more dill and serve with rice.
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