Or try this recipe from Asha Gomez’ book, “My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen.” She makes it with other winter squash like pumpkin or kuri, but butternut works beautifully. No rice flour? Skip the dumplings. Although it’s becoming more easily available in stores that carry ingredients for gluten-free cooking.
For the chicken: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small fryer chicken (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced 2 cups diced butternut squash 2 stalks celery, rough cut into large chunks 2 fresh bay leaves 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 4 cups chicken stock 2 cups coconut milk 15 fresh Thai basil leaves, for garnish For the dumplings: 2 cups rice flour 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cook the chicken: Put the olive oil in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid and heat on medium until the oil is hot. In a separate bowl, dredge the chicken pieces in flour. Drop the chicken into the hot oil, 2 or 3 pieces at a time. Be careful to avoid crowding. Brown for about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the Dutch oven. Add the shallots and ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, celery, bay leaves, thyme, turmeric and salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute; stir in the stock.
Return the chicken to the Dutch oven; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir just until combined.
Make the dumplings: In a medium bowl, mix the rice flour, cumin seeds and salt. Gradually stir 2 cups warm water into the rice flour mixture to make a soft dough that is not sticky; the dough will have a somewhat fragile, sandy texture.
Form 24 1/2-inch small balls of dough with your hands or a melon baller. Make a small divot in each dumpling by pressing down in the center with your thumb (much as you would in making gnocchi or orecchiette pasta) and place on a plate or baking sheet.
Set a steamer basket over a medium pan containing 1 quart water. Place the dumplings in the basket, making sure they are not touching, and cover. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Steam the dumplings until they are firm and plump, 8 to 10 minutes.
Make the final dish: Drop the dumplings into the chicken mixture, stir ever so gently to coat the dumplings with the sauce, then cover again and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Cut the basil into chiffonade, or thin ribbons. Serve in bowls with a scattering of basil.