Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà ri gà)

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This dish is a common everyday dinner in Vietnamese homes. This curry is more like a thin stew, filled with root vegetables and served with crusty bread to dip in the broth. Dipping the bread in the curry broth is my favorite part so I tend to make mine with a lot of broth.



  • a whole chicken or 2-3 lb chicken (whatever cuts you like), cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 Tb curry powder to start.. I usually add more
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 lb potatoes peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (sweet and/or regular)
  • oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 Tb minced lemongrass
  • 2-4 cups chicken stock if not using a whole chicken
  • 2-4 Tb fish sauce
  • 1-2 carrots, cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups (or just use a can) coconut milk


1. If using a whole chicken, break down the chicken into the legs, thighs cut in half, wings, and chicken breast cut into thirds. Also cut off the wing tips. Simmer the carcass in water for 2-3 hours to make a simple stock. You can also simmer it in a mixture of water and chicken stock if you don't have time to get enough chicken flavor into the broth or if your carcass is small. Reduce to the 2-4 cups of stock needed.

2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and sugar. You can coat with a bit of the curry powder as well. Let sit while you brown your potatoes.

3. Heat some oil in a pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium high heat and brown the potatoes. Set the potatoes aside.

4. Pour out any excess oil, leaving enough to brown the chicken. Brown the chicken, in batches if needed. Set the chicken aside.

5. Turn the heat up and add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and lemongrass, and the rest of the curry powder stirring until fragrant.

6. Add a half cup of the chicken stock and scrape the bottom to get those good brown bits.

7. Add in the rest of the stock, the fish sauce, and add back in the chicken and potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. The amount of stock to use depends on how much broth you like in your curry.

8. Taste to see if you need more curry powder or salt/fish sauce. I like a lot of liquid in my curry so I end up using a lot of curry powder and some more fish sauce. I usually add some cayenne or drop in a few bird chiles for more heat too.

9. Add the coconut milk, bring back to a simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

10. Serve with warm, crusty bread. Less frequently it is eaten over rice like a "canh."