Cari ga, or Vietnamese chicken curry, is almost a chicken stew. With its familiar vegetable trio of carrot, potato and onion, it’s hearty enough to serve on its own, with maybe a hunk of baguette to soak up the sauce.
The original recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible. Having looked at a number of other cari ga recipes, hers was the only one that included cinnamon. I’m with Madhur on this – I love the sweet warmth it brings to the sauce.
Cari ga (Vietnamese chicken curry)
- 2 Tb medium-hot curry powder
- 8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
- 150g shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick lemongrass, end trimmed and sliced crosswise
- a 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 dried red chillies, crumbled
- 2 Tb sunflower oil
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4-5 kaffir lime leaves (or 2 bay leaves)
- 2 white onions, peeled and cut into eighths
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 8 small waxy potatoes, peeled and halved
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-1/2″ lengths
- 1 Tb fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tin coconut milk
- Rub half the curry powder all over the surface of the chicken pieces. Set aside.
- In a mini-chopper, blend the remaining curry powder, shallots, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chillies with a few tablespoons of water to make a paste.
- Heat the oil in a large, deep pan with a lid, and add the cinnamon stick and lime leaves.
- Add the onion and fry until softened. Add the tomatoes and fry a few minutes more.
- Add the chicken pieces and cook a couple of minutes on each side. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 7-8 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, fish sauce, sugar and a cup (250ml) of water. Bring to a boil then cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for half an hour, then add salt to taste.
- Add the coconut milk, and stir and cook uncovered for another five minutes.