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Aromatic Chicken Curry

While every part of Southeast Asia has its curry dishes, the curries of Vietnam are decidedly different from those of Thailand, India, or China. While the others tend to be very hot and spicy, the Vietnamese curry leans more to the heady and aromatic. The basil adds the final touch.
Serves 4.

2 medium-sized potatoes, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons peanut oil
8 shallots, minced
4 stalks fresh lemon grass, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh hot red chiles, minced
2 tablespoons best-quality curry powder
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt or 1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 14-oz. can of coconut milk
1 14-oz. can of chicken stock
fresh basil leaves

Fry the potato chunks in the oil until nicely browned, then drain them on paper towels. Add the shallots, lemon grass, and all of the spices to the pan, and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until it is opaque. Add the potatoes, salt, coconut milk, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves before serving in bowls with rice.

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