TOM KHA GAI
Preheat slow cooker. Remove tough outer layers from 3 stalks lemongrass (available at many supermarkets) or substitute zest of 2 lemons. Using the side of a chef’s knife, lightly smash lemongrass to bruise it and release its flavorful essential oils. In the slow cooker, combine lemongrass; 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth; ¼ cup fish sauce or soy sauce; 1 Tbsp sugar; 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced; 6 strips lime zest; 1 thinly sliced shallot; 3 Thai bird or serrano chiles; 1½ lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch strips; and 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced. Cover and cook on high 2½ hours (or low 5 hours) or until chicken is cooked through. Add 1 (13.5-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk and 1 finely chopped large carrot; cook on high 30 minutes longer (or on low 1 hour). Stir in 3 Tbsp lime juice, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 2 Tbsp chopped Thai basil (or basil, mint and tarragon) and 1 thinly sliced green onion. Top with additional herbs. Garnish with thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers, if desired. Serve with chile oil sauce. Serves 6.
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