Every country has their own curry, but I, a full-fledged Vietnamese, am not biased at all when I say that the Vietnamese curry is the best one there is. It's not too pungent in spices. It's not too aromatic that it's overpowering and it's not too thick. It’s simply a warm and delicious bowl of tender chicken in a rich curry stewed with potatoes. Served over steamed white rice or as a dipping sauce for toasted baguettes, it’s the perfect meal for these cold winter days.
Vietnamese chicken curry (ca ri ga) has a great blend of spicy yellow curry, lemongrass, garlic and onions, all stewed with root vegetables in a rich chicken and coconut milk broth.
Some people take the extra step of frying the potatoes before adding them to the stew. This is to sear the outside to prevent them from breaking apart in the curry. I like to keep this simple and not dirty up another pan so I skip the frying step entirely. To prevent the potatoes from overcooking and breaking apart, simply add them to the stew toward the end of cooking.
Also, add the coconut milk towards the end of cooking to preserve its richness, flavor and aroma.
To get the most flavor out of the dish, use chicken thighs. For even more flavor, use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs.
Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga)
- 3 lbs chicken (bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs preferred; cut into bite-sized pieces with a meat cleaver)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons chicken/pork/mushroom stock powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
- 5 garlic cloves (mince)
- 1 large shallot (mince)
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 2 cups water
- 5 lemon leaves
- 1 13.5-oz can coconut milk
- 1 lb potatoes (peel and cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1 small white onion (slice into wedges)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- Marinate the chicken with salt, stock powder, sugar, black pepper and yellow curry powder for at least 15 minutes. Overnight in fridge for best results.
- In a large skillet or wok with lid, add vegetable oil and heat on medium high. Add lemongrass, garlic, shallot and curry powder. Saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Toss marinated chicken in the aromatic mixture until evenly coated.
- Add water. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes. The covered lid and low simmer will collect a lot of moisture for a delicious chicken broth.
- Add lemon leaves, coconut milk, potatoes and onions. Continue to cover skillet/wok with lid but leave a small opening to prevent the coconut milk from boiling over. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove lemon leaves.
- Season with salt, fish sauce and sugar.
- Serve over a bowl of steamed white rice or on the side of toasted baguette for dipping.