My late father loved hunting for deer, and to this day my mother and brothers still love to go hunting. I recently received a slab of fresh deer meat from a close relative and I decided to make some authentic Hmong Deer Stew. My husband loves this dish. I wasn’t able to find a recipe so I decided to prepare it based on my own family tradition and from eating others’ versions too! This is a recipe that’s so easy to make, plus it can be modified to fit your taste buds.
Wash and dry all vegetables and herbs. Remove stems from mint, basil and coriander.
Chop coriander and green onion.
Cut Thai eggplant in half, then slice into 1-inch pieces.
Peel ginger root and galangal using the edge of a spoon or small knife. Slice into 1-inch pieces.
Trim fat and loosely chop venison meat into 1/4 inch pieces.
1. In a 6-quart pot, add two tablespoons of oil, minced garlic and sliced ginger. Stir and cook for 1 minute on high heat until fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
2. Add venison meat and lemon grass. Cook until meat is brown. About 6-8 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Add 8 cups of water and galangal to pot mixture. Cook on medium heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pot with lid while cooking.
4. Add Thai eggplants, lime leaves, Thai chili peppers and cook for additional 15 minutes on medium-high heat.
5. Add coriander, green onion, basil, both mints to pot mixture. Stir well. Turn off heat and cover pot for 1 minute.
Serve and enjoy with jasmine rice!
Head to your local Asian store to find many if not most of the herbs and vegetables. You can also go to your local butcher to see if they carry venison meat. Can’t find any? You can substitute the deer meat for beef!
If you can’t find some of the herbs, that’s ok. As long as you have garlic, ginger, green onion, coriander and mint, you should be all set. These are readily available at most large grocery stores. You may even substitute the Thai eggplants for zucchini and carrots!
Did you know? You can substitute 2 cups of water for 2 cans of beer! Yes, the Hmong love cooking with beer and don’t worry about the alcohol content because the alcohol will actually evaporate during the cooking process.
Many Hmong dishes are not written down and measurements are never exact. This recipe is loosely based on a family tradition and you can modify it to fit your own taste. In other words, feel free to taste as you go and add things as you cook.
I did not include MSG in this recipe, though it is widely used in this dish and many Asian dishes so it’s completely optional. If you do decide to add it, just add a small pinch. I find that if you add too much, it makes the broth very bitter!
Speaking of bitter, another version of this Hmong Deer Stew uses Bitter Melon instead of Thai eggplant.