Trim the meat and cut into cubes. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the pounded spice paste and fry until fragrant. Add the cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon, galangal, lemongrass, and salam leaves. After 2 minutes, add the meat and stir until the meat stiffens. Add the coconut milk and stir well on low fire until meat is tender, about 1 to 2 hours. When you see that the coconut milk is evaporating, add some hot water. When the oil comes up, take it away and keep stirring until the sauce becomes thick. Serve with white rice.
Combine all of the ingredients and mix into a fine paste in a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor.
Can be found at ethnic markets. It can be substituted with curry leaves.