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To make the red curry paste, pound the lemongrass stalk and peppercorns using a large pestle and mortar. Add the chillies and shallots, and continue to pound into a paste. Add the coriander stalks, spices, garlic and galangal, and pound again until well combined. Stir in the shrimp paste or fish sauce, and lime zest. Alternatively, crush the peppercorns and lemongrass, then tip everything into a blender and blitz to a paste. Will keep chilled in an airtight container for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months.
Heat the coconut oil in large pan and fry the curry paste for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the chicken and tip in the coconut milk, stock and lime leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Remove the chicken to a board and shred or slice into bite-sized pieces. Stir the chicken back through the soup, then check for seasoning, adding the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to taste, if needed. The broth should be hot, sour, salty and spicy.
Divide the cooked noodles between four warmed deep bowls, and ladle in the broth and chicken. Scatter over the herbs, bean sprouts, mangetout and carrot, squeeze over the lime wedges, drizzle with some coconut cream, if using, and sprinkle with the spring onions and chilli to serve.
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