*I used a combination of seeds and ground spices from the list below. I was hoping my mini-food processor would do a better job of grinding the seeds. Eh.
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
5 to 8 dried arbol chilies, stemmed
2 lemongrass stalks
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound boned, skinned chicken thighs, cubed
1 tsp shrimp paste:
I would suggest only using 1/2 tsp. of this potent paste. Either way, your house will be filled with a not-so-pleasant aroma that can't be avoided. It's a key ingredient. You've been warned.
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1 qt. chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
3 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
6 oz. mung bean sprouts, rinsed
8 oz. wide rice noodles
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn
Grind coriander, peppercorns, cumin, fennel, cloves, turmeric, and chiles coarsely in a spice grinder. Peel tough outer layers from lemongrass, then mash core with a meat mallet or small, heavy frying pan.
The lemongrass is somewhere under that pan and those calloused feet!
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken, shrimp paste, shallots, and reserved spices and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 minutes.
Pour in coconut milk, brother, sugar, and salt; add cinnamon and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
Boil bean sprouts in a large pot of boiling water until softened, 2 minutes. Transfer sprouts to a bowl. Add noodles to pot and cook until firm, 4 minutes. Drain; rinse well.
Divide sprouts and noodles among 6 bowls. Ladle in soup (remove cinnamon and lemongrass) and top with mint and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.