Here’s the main dish for the Valentine’s Day dinner suggested by chef Ro Howe in her two recent posts. – Ed. Spicy Lemongrass Chicken Thighs with Bokchoy and Toasted Cashews on Vanilla RiceYield: two portions as a main courseEquipment11-inch sauté pan, measuring spoons and cups, two-quart saucepan with lid, wooden spoon, platter


1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. water
2/3 pound boneless chicken thighs, dried on paper kitchen towels
4 Tbsp. olive oil

½ Cup onion, sliced lengthwise
2 finely minced Thai chilies or ½ tsp. red chili flakes
2 root-end 6-inch stems lemongrass, halved and beaten to open fibers
1 tsp. minced garlic

¾ Cup chicken stock
1 ½ tsp. fish sauce/nam pla (from Asian groceries)
1 tsp. sugar

¼ Cup washed, chopped cilantro leaves and stems

¾ Cup Texmati rice, washed five times
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 Cup water
½ tsp. olive oil

1/3 pound/ 6 pieces trimmed, washed baby bok choy
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 Cup toasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped


For the chicken: Make a slurry of cornstarch and water. Add trimmed, dried chicken thighs. Let sit 10 minutes.Heat an 11-inch sauté pan. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and, when shimmering, place chicken pieces in, a few at a time and not touching, to brown. Turn them to brown on the other side. Remove to platter. Continue till all pieces have been seared.Wipe out the pan. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. When shimmering, add onion, chilies, and lemongrass Sauté until the onion is translucent—about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down a bit and add the garlic.Add the chicken, chicken broth, nam pla, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes till chicken is cooked through. Discard lemongrass stems.

For service, sprinkle with chopped cilantro

For the rice: Put washed rice, salt, vanilla, olive oil, and water in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and cook over high heat until steam escapes from under the lid of the pan. Turn down the flame to its lowest setting. Do not open the lid. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Open the lid and fluff gently with a fork. Cover to keep warm for service.

For the bok choy: Blanch in boiling, lightly salted water for 2 minutes. Strain and shock in iced water. Strain until ready for service.

For service, heat a sauté pan. Add oil, bok choy, and salt and pepper. Toss in pan till warmed through and coated in oil.

For service, sprinkle with the toasted nuts.

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