Cook the chicken and squash, then skin and bone the chicken and cut it into 1-inch chunks. Place it in a bowl or plastic container with the squash and cover with strained stock; cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Strain and reserve the remaining stock separately. Make the sauce, cover and refrigerate. This takes about 1 1/2 hours and serves 6.
- For the poached chicken
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 medium thighs)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar or palm sugar
- 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bunch cilantro stems, rinsed
- 1 1 1/2-inch-long piece peeled ginger root
- 1 red or green Thai chili pepper
- 1 pound acorn or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 6 cups water
- For the soy-ginger sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark (sweet) soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Thai yellow soybean sauce (see TIP, below)
- 1 1-inch piece peeled ginger root, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons Thai coconut vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 medium red Thai chili peppers, halved, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
For the poached chicken: Rinse the chicken thighs and place them in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. Cover; cool the chicken and squash in the poaching liquid. (This can sit on the turned-off burner or removed from the stove.)
While the chicken is cooling, make the soy-ginger sauce: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped, but not pureed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour the sauce into a plastic container or small bowl and cover it with plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed, up to 1 week.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooled squash from the poaching liquid and place it in a large bowl. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board; discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and add to the squash. Strain the poaching liquid, reserving 3 cups for cooking the rice. Cover the chicken and squash with the remaining poaching liquid. Cover the reserved poaching liquid and the chicken and squash with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
TIP: Thai yellow soybean sauce (tow jiaw, pronounced "dow GEE-ow") is made from fermented whole soybeans and is sometimes called salted soya beans or soy bean paste. It has the consistency of ketchup and provides a concentrated, salty hit to this dish. It is available in the international aisle of larger grocery stores; at Duangrat Oriental Food Mart, 5888 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, 703-578-0622; and at Thai Market, 902 Thayer St., Silver Spring, 301-495-2779.
Adapted from Nick Malgieri.
Tested by Jill Grisco.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.