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1 whole chicken breast
2 chicken thighs
1/2 pound of cleaned shrimp (optional)
4 stalks fresh lemongrass
4 1/2 cups coconut milk (NOT coconut cream)
1 1/2 cups basic chicken stock
20 quarter-sized slices fresh galanga (fresh ginger makes a fine substitute)
10 whole black peppercorns
12 fresh wild lime leaves (available at Asian markets; if unavailable, substitute the grated peel of 1 lime)
1 cup well-drained, whole canned straw mushrooms, halved lengthwise (sliced fresh button mushrooms work fine too)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Bone and skin the chicken. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

2. Chop off the grassy tops of the lemongrass stalks, leaving about 6 inches of the bottom of the stalks. Cut away the hard root end. Peel away the tough outer leaves. Using the blunt edge of a heavy knife or a meat tenderizer, bruise the stalks on all sides. Cut each stalk crosswise into 4 pieces; set aside.

3. In a large saucepan, combine the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add the lemongrass, chicken, shrimp, galanga, peppercorns, and 1/2 of the lime zest or leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is opaque, about 10 to15 minutes.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, add the mushrooms and remove from the heat. Add the fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

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