Iron Pot Chicken

3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
3 large shallots, cut into quarters, or half a medium onion, cut into 8
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces 1 inch square
3/4 inch thick
10 fresh Thai bird chilies, stemmed and crushed
1 ounce ginger, peeled and cut into fine julienne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chicken stock or water
2 sprigs cilantro, chopped
Cooked white rice, for serving (optional).

In a small bowl, combine fish sauce and sugar; set aside. In a large
skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallots or onion and stir until
translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and stir until sugar
caramelizes and turns golden brown. Add chicken and stir until opaque,
about 2 minutes. Add chilies, ginger and black pepper, and stir for 2
minutes. Add stock or water, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is reduced and
thickened and chicken is cooked, about 5 more minutes. Stir in cilantro
and, if desired, serve over rice.

Yield: 2 servings.

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