4 1/2 cups thin coconut milk and 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 fresh chicken, about 2 pounds, cut into serving pieces
3 cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
10 ounces pearl onions or 2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 cup unsalted raw peanuts
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons tamarind juice
3 dried red chilies, soaked in warm water until soft, stems discarded, deseeded
3/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, thick bottom part only, outer layers discarded, inner part sliced
1/2 inch fresh galangal root, peeled and sliced
5 to 6 coriander (cilantro) roots and stems
2 kaffir lime leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
To make the Mussamum Curry Paste, dry-fry the dried red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns in a wok or skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Combine the roasted ingredients and all the other ingredients and grind to a smooth paste in a blender.
Heat 1/4 cup of the thin coconut milk in a wok over medium heat until hot. Stir in the Mussamun Curry Paste and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring from time to time, until fragrant.
Add the chicken and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting with the curry. Add the remaining thin coconut milk, cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked.
Increase the heat to medium, add the potatoes, onions, peanuts, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind juice and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are cooked. Stir in the thick coconut milk and adjust the seasonings, adding more fish sauce, sugar and tamarind juice if desired. Simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes and remove from the heat.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with steamed rice.