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Thai Vegetable Stew

2 Tbsps.garlic
3 Tbsps.Thai yellow chili paste
2 Tbsps.lemongrass, tender parts only, pulverized
1 lb.hard squash (butternut or kabocha), 1-½-in. dice
1 lb.onions, sliced in 1-in. wedges
½ lb.sweet peppers, 1-½-in. dice
1 lb.eggplant, 1-½-in. dice
2 canscoconut milk (13½ oz. each)
1 lb.`chicken breast, sliced
2 tsps.brown or palm sugar
1 tsp.salt
2 sauce
1 Tbsp.lime juice
¼ cupbasil leavesDIRECTIONS:1. Heat the oil in a heavy pot but do not let it smoke. Bloom the garlic and then the chili paste. Add hard squash and onions and cook gently until the onions begin to soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and then the coconut milk.

2. Add salt, sugar and fish sauce; bring to a simmer. Add chicken breast and simmer until vegetables are tender.

3. Finish with lime and basil. Hold warm and ladle as needed over rice. SERVINGS:8 to 10 servingsFrom:Executive Chef Jean-Michel Boulot, University of Washington, Seattle