Main course

Cà ri gà

Vietnamese chicken curry.

Curry in Vietnam is said to have its origins in India. Once the notion of curry had crossed the Indian Ocean, the Vietnamese adapted it to their own produce. This is where we find the archetypal lemongrass. In common with other exported ‘portacurries’ (such as British Asian cuisine), this recipe uses a blended curry powder rather than individual spices. The Indian word ‘cari‘ (literally meaing ‘gravy’ and from where we get ‘curry’) is also part of the export package.

This version of cà ri gà (chicken curry) originates in Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe but is adapted to the ingredients and equipment in our kitchen. The paste is simplified in its prep, and the salt is added earlier per Atul Kochhar to break the onions down. This curry needs no side dish as it contains potatoes and is a one-pot meal in its own right.

Cà ri gà

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By Nigel Eastmond after Madhur Jaffrey Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • For the chicken:
  • 1kg chicken pieces
  • 2 tbsp hot curry powder
  • For the paste:
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tomatoes, or 1 handful cherry tomatoes
  • 1 stick lemongrass, root removed and split
  • 4 tbsp water
  • For the stew:
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 onions, cut into 8ths
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 carrots, chunked
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp liquid seasoning (Maggi)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Half a can of coconut milk
  • To garnish:
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped


For the marinade:


Sprinkle the chicken with the curry powder, mix and set aside.

For the paste:


Blitz all the paste ingredients in a blender.

For the stew:


Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the bay and cinnamon. Once the herbs crackle, add the onion and salt and cook until lightly gilded.


Add the paste and cook for 3 mins. Add the chicken and fry for another 5 mins. Cover and simmer on low for 5–7 mins, stirring now and then.


Add the potatoes, carrots, fish sauce, seasoning and sugar. Cover, and cook on low for 30 mins until the potatoes and carrot are soft to the point of a paring knife. Add the coconut milk, bring to simmer and serve with a sprinkling of chopped coriander.

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