Vietnamese chicken curry
Ca ri ga (chicken curry) is a stew-like dish eaten as a main course. It’s perfect for those cold winter days but because my husband and I have been on a French baguette kick ever since our honeymoon in June (more on that later), I decided to cook up the perfect accompaniment to the baguette.
France has a presence in Vietnamese culture due to the French colonization of the Indochine region during the 19th Century. This is why some of the vernacular transferred and why the baguette is used in several Vietnamese dishes. The beauty of this curry is its versatility in that it can, with a few tweaks, be made with beef instead of chicken. Rice sticks (banh pho), egg noodles (mi), or even rice (com) can also be substituted for the baguette slices.
I got this recipe from my Aunt Carol whose creations I used to scarf down when I lived under her roof back in high school. As with all great cooks, nothing was properly measured in her recipe so I had to cook it several times and modify it here and there before it tasted similar to hers. (The way I was originally cooking it made it super watery–it was missing that slightly thicker consistency of curry. Of course, the Vietnamese variety is not as thick as its Thai or Japanese and Korean counterparts, so don’t worry if it looks more like soup. You can just add more cornstarch to thicken it up.)
- 2-3 lbs. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks, cut 3 inches long
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. curry powder
- 1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk
- 3 (13.5 oz.) can chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tsp. cornstarch, diluted in equal parts water
- cilantro for garnish
- Combine chicken, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp. of the curry powder in a large bowl. Let marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large stockpot and saute garlic and onion until fragrant. Add remaining 1 tbsp. curry powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add chicken and stir until completely covered in curry mixture, about 3 minutes.
- Add carrots, potatoes, celery, lemongrass, fish sauce, coconut milk, and chicken broth to stockpot. Add enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil, then cover and reduce to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken, carrots, and potatoes are cooked through.
- Before serving, add cornstarch mixture. Add more for desired thickness. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice sticks, egg noodles, rice, or with baguette slices.
Serves 6 to 8.