Soak the Tamarind (skip if using shop bought paste)
Put the kettle on and place the tamarind pulp in a bowl.
Pour about 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water over the pulp and cover with a saucer. Leave to soak while you get the other ingredients going and get started with the cooking.The longer the tanarind soaks, the better, but with boiling water, a minimum of 10 minutes will do.
Onions - you have 3 large onions. Slice one into rings and set aside on a plate until needed.Quarter the other 2 onions and place them in a chopper to make our cooking paste (called rempah in Malay).
Lemongrass – you have 3. We'll be using 2 of them whole, the other is going in the paste. Slice off the tough bottom end (the root end) of the lemongrass stalks. And cut off the top part, leaving about 10 cm/4 inches of stalk. Peel off the top layer, if it's particularly dry or dirty, or looking a little yellow. If not, leave it alone. Rinse your lemongrass and dry.Whole – place 2 of the lemongrass stalks on a chopping board and bash hard on the thick end with the back of your knife. This is called bruising your lemongrass. Set aside until cooking time.Third lemongrass – slice into thin rings and add to the chopper.You can read more about how to prepare lemongrass for use in this post.
Chop up your fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) and set aside until after the curry is done. You can place them in the fridge to retain their vibrancy, if you like. Or chop them up when the curry is done cooking - up to you.
Let's get the paste (rempah) done.Slice the red chillies and add to the chopper.Add the turmeric, shrimp paste and taucheo to the chopper too.Chop everything to get a fine paste. You shouldn't need any water as there is enough moisture from the onions and taucheo.If your chopper isn't big enough, do it in 2 rounds.
Let's get Cooking
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat and sauté the onion rings for 1 minute.
Add the lemongrass stalks and fry for 30 seconds, then add the paste and fry for 2 minutes until you get a strong aroma of the paste.
Add all the chicken portions, and stir, to coat thoroughly with the spice paste.
Mash the tamarind with your fingers (it should be cool enough now). Then fish out the seeds and pulp, discard, and pour everything else into your pan. Or use a sieve with a large mesh. Stir to mix.
Add the salt, mix thoroughly and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat right down and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the chicken portions are fully cooked. The time will depend on the size of your chicken portions.
When the chicken is fully cooked, add the vinegar, stir, then check the seasoning. It should be perfect, but add more salt, if you think it needs it. You should have a thick, dry curry with a full on flavour.If you like more sauce, add a little more water, perhaps 125ml (½ cup), stir, and bring back to a simmer. In this instance, you will need a little more salt.
Scatter the fresh coriander (cilantro) and serve with rice.