Note: For lemongrass, use only the white, slightly tender (but still firm) inner bulb, not the fibrous outer layers. Trim off the root and discard the last 5 inches of the stalk; peel off the first few layers to reach the part you want to use. If you buy lemongrass in a plastic container, it probably has been trimmed. From “Milk Street,” by Christopher Kimball.
• 8 oz. plum tomatoes (2 large), quartered
• 4 tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
• 3 tsp. kosher salt, divided
• 2 tsp. ground turmeric
• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, and 5 inches on end removed (see Note)
• 2 large shallots, quartered
• 2 oz. fresh ginger, thinly sliced (about 1/4 c.)
• 8 garlic cloves
• 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces
• 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
In a blender, combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt, turmeric, pepper flakes, lemongrass, shallots, ginger and garlic. Blend until a thick paste forms, about 1 minute, scraping down the blender as needed.
In large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the chicken and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and paste coats the chicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened, 7 to 9 minutes. Off heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve with lime wedges.