Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe (Cà Ri Gà)
One of the things I miss the most when I moved away from home was my parent’s home cooking. I’d reminisce about the food I grew up eating. The pleasant aromas, the bright clean crisp flavors, and the abundance of textures just ponder my mind. Many of the Vietnamese restaurants didn’t offer a wide variety of family household meals on their menu. I would frequently wind up ordering a particular Vietnamese dish that did not satisfy my cravings for my parent’s home cooking I’ve been longing for.
My parents never taught me how to cook due to circumstances therefore, I had to teach myself. I started preparing more home cooked meals on a daily basis and eventually I became very passionate about food. Cooking has made me appreciate my culture even more. I learned how to recreate some of my favorite childhood dishes that took me back home. I’ve also learned how to make other cuisines outside of my culture. I became more in touch with the foods I ate and more aware of how certain ingredients work with one another.
One of the first dishes I learned how to make was cà ri gà which translates to chicken curry. This dish is a Vietnamese style yellow curry stewed with chicken. There are so many layers of flavor that makes it seem complex but it’s fairly simple to make. It’s aromatic, comforting, and hearty. This curry compliments perfectly with toasted French baguettes but you can serve it with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles. Although, I prefer mine with bread. There is quite a bit of prep work and it requires a list of ingredients but the results are worth it.
- 6 bone in chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
- 2 tbsp lemongrass (minced)
- 2 tbsp shallots (minced)
- 6 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2-3 tsp ginger (grated)
- 1-3 Thai chilies (minced)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 whole lemongrass stalk (bruised)
- 6-8 potatoes (quartered into 1.5″ in)
- 4-6 carrots (sliced on a bias into 1″ in)
- 13.66 fl oz unsweetened coconut milk
- 4-6 cups water or chicken broth
- 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (to taste)
- 1-3 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- cornstarch to thicken
- cilantro to garnish
- oil as needed
- salt to taste
- In a large bowl, combine all of the marinate ingredients.
- Add chicken and coat with mixture; marinate for at least 2-4 hours or overnight for better results.
- In a skillet on medium high heat; shallow fry carrots and potatoes for about 2 minutes on each side in batches to form a lightly golden crust. (This will help them retain their shape as they cook in the curry but you can omit this step.) Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside.
- In a large pot on medium high heat, sear chicken for about 3 minutes on each side; remove.
- In the same pot; sauté sliced onions, bruised lemongrass, lime leaves, and curry paste for 3-5 minute.
- Add in water or chicken broth; bring to a boil.
- Add chicken back in, turn heat down to low; cover and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Stir in coconut milk; allow to simmer for 15 more minutes.
- Add in carrots and potatoes; cook until tender.
- Add cornstarch slurry into curry if you desire a thicker consistency or let the potatoes break down.
- Turn off heat; adjust seasonings with fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve with bread, rice, or noodles.
- Garnish with chilies and cilantro.
- There are different types of Madras curry. I used the Vietnamese Madras curry paste. There is also the powder variety, just be sure to cook out the curry flavor.
- Adjust level of spice to your desired preference.
- Vietnamese curry is generally less thick than Thai or Indian curries; adjust the consistency according to your preference.
- Be sure to thoroughly mix cornstarch with cold liquid before adding it into the curry to avoid any lumps from forming.