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Jam Sanitchat's Chicken Rice

Makes 8 to 10 servings

I brought Mom’s recipe with me when I came to the U.S., but I still had to call her in Thailand in the middle of the night to walk me through the process. Chicken rice was one of the very first dishes I made to impress friends, and I guess it deserves some of the credit for all of the new friendships I’ve made over the years, because friends and their friends keep requesting it over and over at my dinner parties. Mom’s Chicken rice definitely started my love of cooking and put me on the path to becoming a chef.

Chicken rice is a staple of Thailand’s street-food culture. My mom didn’t start making the dish at home until about midway through my elementary school years, and I remember her version just seemed to appear all of a sudden without any of the expected recipe trial and error. We didn’t ask questions, though, because her Chicken Rice was perfect—incredibly delicious and fragrant. The best part was her sauce. No one—not even Thailand’s most famous chicken rice restaurants—could surpass her sauce. Years later, she revealed that the recipe had actually come from a friend. Apparently, the friend had borrowed some money from Mom and couldn’t quite pay it back. So, Mom told her, “If you give me that chicken rice recipe, I’ll just forget about the money.” That was money well spent.