This is a typical Kalom (Tai Yuan) stew from Ban Khone, The Boat Landing’s village. It is prepared with whatever vegetables are in season. Ingredients for the dish in the top photo below include banana flower, gourd vine leaves, chilli wood (the dark stuff on the left) and rattan, whereas the stew in the next photo uses baby corn, beans and snake gourd and is served with less liquid.
2½ C water (or more for a thinner dish)
1 t salt
3 pieces chilli wood ( mai sakahn), half a thumb-length (or substitute 1 green chilli, ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns plus several Sichuan peppercorns if you have them)
2 T oil
2 T garlic, chopped
½ C chicken or duck on the bone, cut soup-size, 2 cm (1 in)
2 stalks lemongrass, white only and bruised to release flavour
1 chilli (or more to taste)
3 small green apple eggplants, cut in eighths
½ C rattan pieces (or use pumpkin, squash, gourd, baby sweet corn or tinned rattan, soaked and drained)
¼ C gadawm gourd (optional; or any other gourd or squash)
4 leaves sawtooth herb (or substitute coriander/cilantro)
3 stems dill, cut into 4 cm (1½ in) pieces
2 stems lemon basil (pak i tou Lao), cut into 4 cm (1½ in) pieces
2 small long beans, cut into 4 cm (1½ in) pieces
3 T roasted rice powder
2 T thin soy sauce
- Put the water in a small pot, add ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil
- In a wok, put 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat and add 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic. Stir fry briefly. Add the chicken pieces, lemongrass, the chilli and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir fry until the colour of the meat has changed. Transfer this mixture to the boiling water. Simmer.
- After 5 minutes, add the eggplant. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, and then add the rattan (or substitute). Simmer 5 minutes more until cooked.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of roasted rice powder over the gaeng. Mix in smoothly. Add the long beans and herbs; simmer for a further 5 minutes. Finish with 2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce. Stir, taste and add more soy sauce or salt if needed.
- Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Try using tofu or pork instead of chicken.