Thai Chicken, Peanut & Sweet Potato Curry

¼ cup / 60 mL roasted (skinless) peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves (veins removed), finely chopped
2 red hot peppers, minced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ cup / 60 mL finely chopped coriander stems and roots
1 tbsp / 15 mL minced lemon grass
1 tbsp / 15 mL fish sauce
1 tbsp / 15 mL lime juice
2 tsp / 10 mL palm sugar
1 tbsp / 15 mL Thai red curry paste
3 tbsp / 45 mL peanut oil
½ cup / 125 mL finely chopped onion
2 cups / 500 mL coconut milk
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 to 6 boneless skinless thighs, cut into chunks
2 cups / 500 mL white-fleshed sweet potatoes (red-skin peeled) cut into chunks
1 cup / 250 mL okra, each cut into 3 or 4 pieces, or other vegetable as desired (optional)
Thai basil
Pound in mortar (or process in food processor) peanuts into coarse paste. Pound or process lime leaves, hot peppers, garlic, coriander, lemon grass, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar into fine paste; add peanuts and pound or process a bit more. Set aside.
In saucepan, heat about half of the oil; add onions and sauté until golden; add peanut paste and fry over medium to medium-low heat until ingredients are all cooked and very fragrant, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in curry paste and continue sautéing for a minute. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened and glossy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in skillet, brown chicken in remaining oil. Add drained chicken and potatoes to curry sauce; simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are just about tender. Add okra and cook until okra is tender-crisp and potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 2 minutes. Garnish with Thai basil leaves. Serve with rice.

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