This recipe came from a great Big Island cook — the late Napoleon “Chopper” Ebanez, who worked as a manager and special police officer for the County of Hawai‘i’s Parks & Recreation.
Yield: 6-8 serving
Prep Time: 90 minutes
- 2 lb. chicken thighs
- 2” piece of ginger, peeled and smashed
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
- 2 whole stalks lemongrass, bruised on the root side with the flat of a knife
- 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 c. green papaya, cut into 2” chunks
- 1-2 c. marungay* or pepper leaves,stripped from the hard stems
*Marungay is a high-protein legume; find its leaves at Paradise Market, 207 E. Wakea St., Kahului—but call ahead, as it sells out quickly. 877-6767
Method: Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over medium heat; add garlic and ginger. Cook till fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fish sauce and chicken thighs, raise heat to medium high and cook 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover chicken by 1 1/2 inches. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and lemongrass. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer 45 minutes. Add green papaya and marungay leaves; simmer 20 minutes or until papaya is tender — don’t overcook till mushy. Adjust seasoning. Enjoy ladled over white rice with a side of achara (green papaya salad).