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Closeup of Vietnamese chicken curry in an oval serving dish from above.
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5 from 4 votes

vietnamese chicken curry - cà ri gà

Coconut milk, lemongrass, Indian spices and chicken make for one tasty Vietnamese chicken curry.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: Vietamese chicken curry
Servings: 4
Calories: 739kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


the spices

  • 3 tbsp Vietnamese madras curry powder not Indian madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves

The root vegetables

  • 10 oz sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 10 oz potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces. I use yukon gold.
  • oil to shallow fry

Vietnamese chicken curry

  • 2 lbs chicken skinless, bone-in. I like a mix of thighs and drumsticks.
  • 1 cup shallots diced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger minced as fine as you can get it
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce - start with 2 tbsp and decide if you want more.
  • 3 cups chicken stock no sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil you need this much oil to bloom the spices. They will stick or worse, burn if you cut back.
  • the root vegetables
  • the spice mix
  • cilantro and Vietnamese garlic chili paste to garnish


Do your prep

  • Combine the curry powder, black pepper, turmeric and salt in a small bowl. Get your bay leaves ready
  • Pick off the tough outer layer of the lemongrass. Cut each stalk into three even pieces.
  • Peel the carrots, sweet potato and potatoes. Cut them all into 1 inch pieces
  • Chop your shallots. Mince the garlic and ginger.
  • Skin the chicken. Give is a liberal sprinkling of salt. You are now good to go.

Shallow fry the vegetables and the chicken

  • A wok is great for this. If you have one use that. If you don't something around a 10 inch pot should also do the trick. You can go bigger but you will need more oil. You want the oil somewhere around 2/3 of an inch deep.
  • Heat 2 cups of oil over medium heat (or thereabouts - remember around 2/3 inch deep). You are going for a temperature of around 350F for the oil. Slip in a piece of sweet potato. If lively bubbles form around it you know you're good.
  • You'll need to do this in 2 batches. Shallow fry all the sweet potatoes and half the carrots. Use a slotted spoon to flip them around so they brown evenly. The sweet potatoes take about 3 minutes. The carrots take about 4 minutes. You are going for lightly browned on the sweet potatoes and kind of blistered looking on the carrots. When they are done transfer them to a bowl lined with paper towel.
  • For the second batch fry the other half of the carrots and the potatoes. Light brown on the potatoes and blistered looking for the carrots.
  • The oil is hot anyway so you might as well fry the chicken. GIve it around 2 minutes per side. You want colour but you aren't trying to cook the chicken through here. Transfer them to a bowl (no paper towel required) when the come out of the oil.

Make the Vietnamese chicken curry

  • Heat the 4 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the shallots and sweat until they are translucent and soft. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Push the vegetables off to one side. You should have a puddle of oil in the middle of the pan. Its time to bloom the spices. Add the spice mix. Stir to make sure all the spice is well coated in oil.
    You may need a splash more oil if it looks dry. Don't worry, you can spoon off some of the oil at the end if you want. Blooming the spices is really important so err on the side of a bit too much oil.
  • Cook the spices for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Be careful. You don't want the spices to burn. This step is critical. It's also a really good trick to have in your bag for anything heavy on spice (think Indian and Mexican).
  • Add the coconut milk, the chicken stock and 2 tbsp of fish sauce. Give it a good stir. Add the carrots, potatoes and the chicken. Hold the sweet potato back. It takes a little less time to cook sweet potatoes.
  • Toss in the lemongrass and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potato and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170F for dark meat. This should take another 15 minutes. If you are using white meat you are going for 160F. Probably want to add your sweet potato in around 5 minutes sooner for white meat.
  • To serve garnish with cilantro. Pass the garlic chili sauce along for people to add a bit more zing if they want. Serve with good crusty baguette.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 739kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 1910mg | Potassium: 1653mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 29196IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 10mg