2 stalks fresh lemon grass (each 10 to 12 in. long)
About 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon salad oil
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1/3 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth
3/4 to 2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh hot red or green chili, such as Thai, serrano, jalapeño, or Fresno
Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry. Remove and discard any excess fat. Cut chicken into 1/4-inch-thick strips 2 to 3 inches long.
Rinse lemon grass. Cut off and discard tough tops and root ends; peel off and discard tough, outer green layers of stalks down to tender white portion of bulbs. Finely chop tender portions; you should have 5 to 7 tablespoons.
In a bowl, mix chicken, lemon grass, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sugar, and garlic.
Set a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat; when hot, add oil and shallots and stir until shallots begin to brown, about 1 minute. Add chicken mixture and stir until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), about 3 minutes.
Stir in broth and sliced chili to taste; bring mixture to a boil. Taste, and add more fish sauce if desired. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro.