mortar and pestle or food processor/strong blender)
knife and cutting board
stock pot or dutch oven
Cut the beef into about 2.5 inch cubes and dry each piece thoroughly. Season each side of the meat with heavy pinches of kosher salt up to 1-2 hours before searing and rest on paper towels or a cooking rack so they can dry out a bit.
In a pot over medium-high heat, add vegetable oil and sear all sides of the meat, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with all pieces of meat and transfer to a plate when finished.
Add about 1 cup of water into the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the water and the meat to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.
Skim and discard any scum that floats to the top of the pot.
Add the coconut milk, salt, and lemongrass leaves in the pot and stir to combine with the meat and water.
Once boiling, bring the heat to low and simmer. Braise the meat for 1 ½ hours or until the meat is tender. Check the meat every 30 minutes and add additional water if the meat is above the water line. The end result should be tender meat pieces and slightly thick coconut liquid.
In a mortar and pestle (or food processor), grind the coriander seeds and peanuts. Add each ingredient one by one to the mortar until all the ingredients form a thick paste. I had to open the food processor lid and scrape down the sides about a dozen times until everything was processed evenly.
If you did not scale this recipe up/down, it will make enough curry paste for 2 batches. Transfer half of this paste in an airtight container and use for future recipes.
In a saute pan over medium heat, add ½ of the coconut milk and cook for about 1 minute or until slightly thick. Here's how it looks after it's ready.
Add ½ amount of the remaining paste to the pot, and cook on medium heat.
Cook until the oil begins to separate, about 2 minutes.
Add fish sauce, palm sugar, makrut lime juice, and the rest of the coconut milk. Stir until combined.
Add this mixture to the stock pot with the braised meat and stir to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, add water if it gets too thick. Taste to test the flavor, you can add more chile powder if you want more spice, add more sugar for sweetness, or lime juice for acidity.
All optional: Add sliced bell peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes so it's still crunchy. Add Thai basil and slightly cook just so it wilts. Add lime leaves right before serving.