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Soak dried chillis: Roughly chop chillies and transfer to bowl, leaving behind seeds. Cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes then drain (reserve soaking water).
Prepare lemongrass: Remove woody top half and outer layers of lemongrass. Grate with microplane. (See in post or video for preparation demo)
Make curry paste: Place chillis, lemongrass and all remaining curry paste ingredients in a jar just wide enough to fit a stick blender. Add 3 tablespoons chilli soaking water. Blitz with stick blender until smooth so there's no hard grit - rub between your fingers to check - about 15 seconds on high. (Or use small food processor or Nutribullet, scraping down sides well).
Cook off curry paste: Heat oil in a medium heavy based skillet over medium heat. (Mine is a 26cm / 10.5" Lodget cast iron) Add curry paste and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until it dries out a bit a smells fragrant.
Reduce stock: Add chicken stock, stir to dissolve paste, then simmer for 1 minute.
Add remaining curry sauce ingredients: Reduce heat to medium low. Add tamarind, fish sauce and sugar. Stir until tamarind is dissolved. Then stir in coconut, carrot and potato.
Simmer: Bring to simmer, then simmer gently for 15 minutes or until potato is almost fully soft. Pierce with knife to check, it might take 20 minutes.
Prawns and bamboo shoots: Add prawns and bamboo shoots. Stir, then cook for 3 minutes until prawns are just cooked.
ADJUST sauce: Taste and adjust the curry sauce at this point. Thin sauce with stock or water, add salt, fish sauce or sugar if needed. See Note 17.
Serve! Transfer curry to serving bowl. Garnish with Thai Basil, fresh chilli and crispy shallots. Serve with jasmine rice.