Method

For the chicken thighs, put the chicken in a bowl and add half the lemongrass and oil, and all the fish sauce. Leave to marinade for 20 minutes, or longer if convenient. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. For the fish caramel sauce, heat a flameproof casserole. Add a tablespoon of water and the palm sugar.

Cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has a syrup-like consistency. Set aside to cool for two minutes, then add the fish sauce and marinated chicken. Return to the heat and cook for 5-8 minutes. Transfer to the oven to finish.

For the smokey eggplant, heat a deep-fat fryer to 180C/350F. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Pierce the eggplant all over with a fork and place over an open flame until it is blistered and burnt all over and tender inside. Set aside to cool a little.  

To finish, top and tail the eggplant then slice it down the middle lengthways. Scoop out the tender flesh from the burnt skin and divide between serving plates. Use scissors to cut it into bite-sized pieces. Serve the chicken in the casserole with jasmine rice.

Ingredients

For the chicken thighs

4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

4 tbsp chopped lemongrass (very finely chop the bottom part of the lemongrass)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp fish sauce

For the fish caramel sauce

35g/1¼oz dark palm sugar

2 tbsp fish sauce

For the smokey eggplant

1 Japanese long eggplant

sea salt

To serve

2 lime leaves, thinly sliced

jasmine rice, to serve

1 tbsp chopped scallion/spring onion (green part only)

Lemongrass chicken and eggplant

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