Thai Green Coconut Chicken Curry

1 lb. (.460 kg.) skinless chicken breast/thigh, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped asparagus OR green beans
handful cherry tomatoes
Optional: 2-3 whole kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
3/4 can coconut milk
1/2 can evaporated milk OR 2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil OR sweet basil

1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian food stores)
1/4 can coconut milk
1-3 green chilies (if you can't find Thai green chilies, jalapeno work well)
1 cup chopped coriander/cilantro, leaves & stems
1 shallot, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles OR Asian food stores)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar in Asian food stores)
Place green curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to create a fragrant green curry paste/sauce (you may need to add more coconut milk if using a blender). To make sauce by hand: Mince and stir all sauce ingredients together in a bowl, OR use a pestle & mortar to mash dry ingredients followed by liquid ingredients. Set aside.
Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a little oil and swirl around, then add your green curry paste. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
Add the chicken. Stir-fry until well saturated with sauce.
Add 1/2 can evaporated milk, plus the lime leaves (if using). Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer chicken 5-6 minutes.
Add 1/3 to 1/2 can coconut milk, plus the green vegetables (except basil) and continue simmering another 3-4 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer 2-3 more minutes. Avoid over-cooking - you want the tomatoes to keep their shape and the green vegetables to retain some of their crispness.
Remove curry from heat and taste-test it for salt and spice. If not salty or flavorful enough, add 1 more Tbsp. fish sauce. If too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice. If too spicy, OR if you'd like more sauce, add what is remaining of your can of coconut milk. If you'd like it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
Serve directly out of the wok, or transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle over the fresh basil (slice larger leaves into shreds). Sliced red chili can also be used as a topping, or to add more spice (as shown). Serve with plenty of Thai jasmine rice, and ENJOY!

For a lighter green curry: Simply substitute chicken stock for the evaporated milk. Add a little more lime juice when taste-testing (to balance out the saltiness), as needed

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