Dry spices for the curry powder:
4 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp white cumin
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cardamom
6 black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp turmeric powder
Wet or fresh ingredients for the curry paste:
4 stalks lemongrass
2 inches fresh galangal (optional)
2 inches length ginger
8 cloves garlic
15 dried chillies
6 tbsp oil
6 tbsp curry powder (see above)
4 lbs chuck steak, cubed
4 cups coconut milk
1 pound baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 kaffir lime leaves
Sugar to taste
Toast the spices for the curry powder in a heavy skillet over medium heat for a minute or two - take off the heat when you can smell them. Add the turmeric and then grind them all in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (Note: If you do not want to round up all the whole spices for this recipe, you can use a blend of their ground counterparts. Don't toast the ground spices.)
Remove the outer tough leaves from the lemongrass and slice finely. Peel the galangal and slice it as finely as you can. Peel and slice the ginger and garlic as well. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, chilies and some oil. This may seem like a lot of chilies, but this dish soaks up the heat and unless you are extremely sensitive to hot foods, this won't be too much. I ended up tossing in a whole handful more near the end because it wasn't hot enough.
Add spice mix and beef and toss.
Cook the onions slowly in a little oil until golden - about 20 minutes. Really take your time with these and do not let them brown. Let them slowly sweat until translucent.
Add the meat over low heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. You don't want to sear the meat or brown it in this recipe. The toasted spices will give it that roasted taste.
Put in crockpot with halved potatoes, coconut milk, lime leaves and soy sauce and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8, or overnight. Leave lid off at the end to reduce the sauce a little if you wish. Taste and adjust flavors with soy sauce and sugar. Serve with rice or rice noodles.