Where Vietnamese food is refined and occasionally involved, Hmong food is more rustic -- it's the difference between Paris and Provence. So while this stew looks a little like Vietnamese pho, it's far simpler to make. It does call for a few unusual ingredients, but these can either be skipped or substituted. The result is a light, aromatic stew where the squirrel provides the meaty base note to an array of bright flavors. Each bite will be different, but wonderful. If you don't have squirrels handy, rabbit or chicken thighs are good substitutes.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot such as a Dutch oven. Pat the squirrel pieces dry and brown them over medium-high heat in the oil. Remove them as they brown and set aside.
Add the garlic, lemongrass, galangal, ginger and chiles and stir-fry over high heat for 90 seconds.
Return the squirrel to the pot and add the chicken stock, lime leaves and fish sauce. You want the broth to cover everything by about an inch. If it does not, add some water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the meat wants to fall off the bone, between 1 hour and 2 hours. Remove the meat and shred it off the bones. Return it to the pot.
Add the bok choy and the snow peas and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste and the ground Sichuan pepper.
You can serve it as-is in bowls, or over some steamed rice in a bowl. Garnish with the cilantro, green onions and mint.