Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the half the onion and all the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until both begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the salt (if using), black pepper, sugar, chopped ginger and chicken. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts and the onion mixture and chicken begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining onion, the chili peppers, lemon grass, curry powder, soy sauce, fish sauce and coconut milk. Stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink at the center, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer (adjusting the heat if necessary) until the sauce thickens and the chicken is tender, about 10 minutes more.
Serve warm garnished with coconut shavings if desired. This dish tastes even better the next day!
Lemongrass is available at Asian markets and specialty produce stores
A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.