20 dried red chiles (half-fresh dried/half-red Thai chiles)
1/4 cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 pound shallots, peeled
8 garlic cloves
5 slices fresh galangal
4 fresh red chiles
3 stalks lemongrass (bottom 2 inches of stalk only)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 bunches fresh cilantro (roots and stems only)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Zest of 1 lime
1 cup peanut oil, divided
2 teaspoons paprika
Slice skin-on potatoes lengthwise, then into batons about 3⁄8-in. by 3⁄8-in. (Or use a french-fry cutter.)
"Blanch" fries in 350°F peanut oil about 3 minutes. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper. Refrigerate overnight.
At service, fry in 350°F peanut oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
While fries are browning, sauté 1⁄2 ounce peanut oil and red curry paste until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Mix together fish sauce, lemon juice and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Toss mixture with fries.
Toss fries with sautéed curry paste, then with cilantro.
Red Curry Paste
In small skillet over medium heat, toast dried chiles, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns until fragrant. In ventilated area, grind to medium powder in spice grinder or blender.
In a food processor, combine shallots, garlic, galangal, fresh chiles, lemongrass, lemon juice, fish sauce, cilantro roots and stems, salt, sugar and lime zest; grind to paste. Blend in 1/4 cup peanut oil and paprika.
Remove paste to bowl. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup peanut oil.
Transfer to jar; refrigerate. (Curry paste will keep for about a week.)