80ml (1/3 cup) peanut oil
800g (1 lb 12 oz) chicken thigh fillets, excess fat trimmed, quartered
270ml can (9 fl oz) coconut milk
6 fresh makrut lime leaves
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
Steamed rice or roti, to serve
10 dried red chillies
5 small red shallots, peeled, chopped
4cm-piece (1.5”) galangal, peeled chopped
3cm–piece (1 3/16”) ginger, peeled, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, chopped
4 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp shrimp paste
To make the paste, soak the dried chillies in hot water for 10-15 minutes or until softened. Remove the chillies (it doesn’t matter if you don’t drain them completely as some water is fine). Reserve the chilli soaking water. Roughly chop the chillies and then place them into the bowl of a small food processor along with the remaining ingredients and a large pinch of salt. Blend until smooth, adding some of the chilli soaking water a tablespoon at a time if the ingredients aren’t blending smoothly.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the paste and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the oil has risen to the surface of the paste. Add the chicken and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the chicken is sealed. Add the coconut milk, ½ cup water, lime leaves, lemongrass and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 35 minutes or until the curry is thick and the chicken very tender.
Season the curry with lime juice, sugar and extra salt if needed. Serve with rice or roti.