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.)

Made my house smell funky but oh-so delicious

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Combine chicken, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp. of the curry powder in a large bowl. Let marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

18 Responses to vietnamese chicken curry
  1. dark mark Reply

    nice. grace loves this stuff when her mom and/or aunt makes this. i'll be sure to pass it on.

  2. choirrific Reply

    hmm, maybe time for an early lunch.

    did john take the pic?

  3. the Blind Cook Reply

    choirrific: Yes, John took the pic. He dressed the bowl too. I need to start doing it all on my own though or else he'll start charging me.

  4. john Reply

    i don't think I'll charge you taking crappy pictures like that. lol.

  5. [...] Also, I’m trying out this recipe plugin John installed for me. Let me know what you think. Should ... theblindcook.com/2010/08/11/turkey-sloppy-joes
  6. huong Reply

    chị Hà mến! em rất ngưỡng mộ chị. ko biết chị có đọc được comment này của em ko nhưng nếu có thời gian rảnh thì chị hãy gửi thư cho em nhé. em rất muốn trơ thành người bạn nhỏ của chị. :)

  7. J. Dent Reply

    This is another recipe that I would really love to make sometime. I've had dishes from China, Japan, Malaysia, and I think I may have had Indian food once too, but I've never had anything Vietnamese. This looks like it would be a great entry, although I'd probably have to watch the curry. I remember the first time I had chicken curry. I burned my mouth out, and the rest of me wasn't that pleased either. I could probably even make this. As long as I have a guide to follow, I'm not bad in the kitchen.

    The only problem I can see is that I wouldn't be the only one eating it, and not everyone likes fish sauce. If I was making it for myself, I wouldn't care, but since I wouldn't be, I'm going to ask. Do you suppose it's possible to either substitute it or omit it and still maintain a good flavor? I'm of the mind that when a recipe calls for something, except for toppings, you don't leave it out. But sometimes, I guess adaptability is part of being in the kitchen.

    • Christine Ha Reply

      In my opinion, the curry would taste flat without the fish sauce. To me, it's a necessity. You can try putting a much smaller amount into your curry and add according to your taste and liking. And this chicken curry is not that spicy, so don't worry.

      • J. Dent Reply

        I thought I'd post again to say that I finally got my taste of this. Tonight, I finally got around to making this for my dad and my sister. It was really, really good. Everyone thought so. Even the smell of it was unbelievable. I can see how anyone would scarf this down. It's just that good. We served it over rice, and I even drank it right out of my bowl when there was nothing left to eat. I wouldn't have even minded it if it was spicy. Jeff likes spicy chicken. Well, so long as it doesn't cause pain at both ends (yes, I said it).

        I still really like your blog. It's a very refreshing change from political stuff and controversy. Can't go wrong with food. Anyway, my compliments on this recipe. My first step into Vietnamese cooking was delicious.

        • Christine Ha Reply

          So glad you all enjoyed it. :)

  8. Quang Reply

    This is one of my favorite Vietnamese dish. My mom used to make it a lot when I was a kid but now she's watching her blood sugar and cholesterol so she doesn't make it anymore. : ( Its such a rich dish and so delicious. I think the coconut milk is what add that little magic touch at the end. I was born in Saigon Vietnam but I grew up here in the States so I really don't know too much about what influences of Vietnamese cuisine. I always thought this particular dish has more of a Indian influence due to the curry and coconut milk. But then you mentioned Thai and I have to rethink and you're right…this is somewhat similar to some Thai dishes I tasted. And you're right about the measurement. When it comes to Vietnamese cooking, there are almost no measurement….you just do it…..mainly from memory of course. It just all comes out right at the end when you taste it. I don't know how my mom does it…everything she cooks just turns out great.

  9. Elisa Reply

    Just finished watching masterchef here in France.
    I loved watching you cooking I could almost taste your flavorful dishes. As an Italian my love for cooking and food is in my roots and soul and I found your recipes and the way you cook a big inspiration. You are amazing and an example and inspiration for all of us. Looking forward to buying your book (hopefully I'll be able to get it here too) Please keep writing, posting and cooking and your head up high!
    Big Love

    • Christine Ha Reply

      Thanks for the support and kind words!

  10. xixi Reply

    I watched all the masterchef 3 in 2 whole days, great to see you there, you're such a beautiful girl with smile can warm people's heart. Here I live in Australia, the very first time I visited a restaurant here was a Vietnamese one, I remember it was 6 dollars a bowls of beef noodles soup, it was warm, delicious with sweet flavour, when I saw your dishes I immediately recalled that noodles soup! Now I am going to learn how to cook it instead of just eat it!! Love your words and food, please do keep writing and do keep well!

    • Christine Ha Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the season, and thanks for the love!

  11. […] and she describes how things should look/smell, which really helps me. You can get the dets here for... thebettylimited.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/curry-curry
  12. Indian recipes Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, i will definitely try this at home.

  13. Jeela Reply

    nice

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