indonesian style chicken curry. recipe from a cooking class, slightly adapted

ingredients:

[for spice paste]
3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 chili padi (or thai bird's eye chiles)
3 large red chiles (like serrano - don't use green ones)
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp galangal, peeled and roughly chopped (you can also reconstitute dried galangal)
1 tbsp fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 1 tsp dried turmeric)
4 candlenuts (or substitute macadamia nuts)
2 tsp coriander seed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp palm sugar
2 tsp vegetable oil

[for curry]
1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 2" cubes
1 lb yellow potatoes, cut in 2" cubes
5 tbsp oil for frying
3 makrut lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrasse, trimmed and bruised, tied in a knot
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water (depending on thickness of curry)
Cilantro to garnish, optional
Fried shallots or onions, optional
Kosher salt

directions:

Grind all the spice paste ingredients together with a mortar and pestle or process in a food processor with a little oil until it forms a paste.

Heat the oil in a large wok or pan and fry spice paste over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2 - 3 minutes or until spices are fragrant. Bruise the makrut lime leaves then add them to the pan along with the knotted lemongrass stalk and fry for 30 seconds until coated with spices.

Add the chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes until chicken is cooked about halfway through.
Add the coconut milk, salt to taste and as much water as you like depending on how thick or soupy you like your curry.
Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 - 35 minutes.
Check for seasoning and serve over rice, topped with fried shallots and cilantro.