1 1/3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well-trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp Madras curry powder
2 1/2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp canola or other neutral oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 or 2 Thai or serrano chilis, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 tbsp)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch squares
1/2 cup coconut milk
3-4 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
Combine chicken, salt, sugar, curry powder and fish sauce in a bowl. Stir to coat chicken evenly. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes to 1 hour (we did an hour).
Heat oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet until hot but not smoking. Add shallot, chilis, lemongrass and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken mixture and bell peppers. Quickly stir-fry to coat with the aromatics, then let the chicken sear, undisturbed, on one side for about 1 minute. Using a wok spatula, flip the chicken pieces over and sear on the other side, undisturbed, for about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, lower the heat to simmer, and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. The chicken is done when the coconut milk is barely visible and the chicken is cooked through.
Transfer to a serving plate or bowl, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve immediately.