500g (1 lb) chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and cut into roughly 4cm batons
5 garlic cloves
2 coriander (cilantro) roots
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp corn flour (cornstarch
vegetable oil for deep frying
5 kaffir lime leaves, destemmed and finely sliced
Place the chicken in a large bowl.
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the lemongrass until it is light, fluffy and stringy (watch the video below to see how it should look). Transfer the lemongrass to the same bowl as the chicken.
Use the mortar and pestle to pound the garlic, coriander roots and peppercorns to a rough paste. Add this to the chicken along with the oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and corn flour. Mix thoroughly with your hands, breaking up the clumps of lemongrass as you mix.
Fill a saucepan or wok to about 1/3 capacity with the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat. The oil is hot enough at 165°C/325°F or when a wooden spoon dipped into the oil forms small little bubbles.
Cook the chicken (along with the bits of lemongrass) in batches in the hot oil for 4-5 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Scoop out any bits of lemongrass that brown before the chicken is ready. Drain the lemongrass and chicken on paper towel.
Toss everything into a large bowl and add the kaffir lime leaves. Toss to combine and serve.
This one is great with sticky rice and Thai papaya salad or served with steamed rice.