1. To make red curry paste, soak the chillies in water to soften. Remove and squeeze off any excess water then roughly chop. Pound the chillies with a pinch of salt in a mortar with a pestle. Add lemongrass and continue to pound. Add ingredients in order, pounding as added. Add all the spices at once and pound to a fine paste.
2. Slice the beef across the grain.
3. To make the garlic paste, coarsely pound the garlic with the salt, chillies and grapao.
4. Fry garlic paste in the pork fat in a brass wok until just coloured. Add the prepared beef and simmer/fry until cooked and golden and richly aromatic.
5. Season with fish sauce and mekhong
and simmer for a few minutes before adding the nutmeg, palm sugar and curry paste and frying for quite a while until the beef is cooked and smells utterly aromatic. About halfway through add some of the torn kaffir lime leaves.
6. Moisten with the stock and continue
to simmer for several more minutes.
7. Add the chilli and galangal powder.
8. Finish with the chilli and basil. It should taste rich, spicy and have quite a lot of oil.