Thai Lime leaf Green Curry

1 to 1.5 lbs. chicken thighs or breast, chopped into small pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 green or yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 shallots OR 1/4 cup purple onion, finely chopped
1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh basil
oil, + a little sherry (or cooking sherry) for stir-frying

10 to 12 kaffir lime leaves (purchased fresh or frozen at an Asian store)
6 cloves garlic
4 green (spring) onions, sliced
3 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian stores)
4 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 fresh red chili, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
Using scissors, snip the lime leaves into thin strips, discarding the stems and central veins. (Note that there are no substitutions for lime leaves in this recipe). Place these strips plus all paste ingredients together in a mini food chopper (or a food processor which can mince finely). Process very well to create an aromatic dark green Thai curry paste.
Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. oil plus the shallots and stir-fry 1 minute.
Add the chicken, plus 2-3 Tbsp. sherry. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is nearly cooked.
Add the peppers plus 3 Tbsp. of the curry paste. Stir-fry 2-3 more minutes, or until peppers have softened (but are still crisp).
Reduce heat to medium. Add all the remaining paste plus 1/3 can coconut milk, stirring well to mix.
Gently simmer a few minutes while you taste-test and adjust the flavorings. If the curry is too strong-tasting OR if you'd prefer more sauce, add another few Tbsp. coconut milk (or up to 1/4 can more). If it's too salty, add more fresh lime juice. If too sour for your taste, add a little more sugar. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce.
Scoop the curry into a serving bowl, or portion out onto individual plates. Top with generous amounts of fresh basil (either whole leaves, if small, or chopped up if the leaves are large). Serve with Thai jasmine-scented rice, and ENJOY!

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