Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 27/11/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 1 hour 10 minutes
This Vietnamese chicken curry or cà ri gà is the quintessential definition of comfort foodwarm, hearty, and delicious. Slice some fresh baguettes to serve with this delicious Vietnamese chicken curry made with a rich, aromatic, sweet, and savory broth, tender chicken, potatoes, taro, and carrots.
Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà)

This Vietnamese chicken curry or cà ri gà is the quintessential definition of comfort foodwarm, hearty, and delicious. Slice some fresh baguettes to serve with this delicious Vietnamese chicken curry made with a rich, aromatic, sweet, and savory broth, tender chicken, potatoes, taro, and carrots.

A spoon lifting up a chunk of chicken from a bowl of Vietnamese chicken curry.

If you’re looking for a warm, satisfying, and nostalgic Vietnamese recipe, this Vietnamese chicken curry, or ca ri ga, will definitely hit the spot. This is my mom’s special Vietnamese chicken curry recipe that always keeps me coming back for seconds.

The rich and brilliantly yellow curry broth is made with coconut water, coconut milk, fragrant aromatics, curry powder, and rich spices for a gently sweet, and savory experience. The slow-cooked chicken, taro, potatoes, and carrots add additional natural sweetness and a hearty mouthfeel.

Serve this bowl of Vietnamese curry chicken with slices of fresh baguette for a complete meal. If you are looking for more authentic Vietnamese recipes, check out my bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew), bun rieu (Vietnamese crab and tomato soup), or pho ga (Vietnamese chicken pho).

Looking down at a bowl of Vietnamese chicken curry topped with cilantro.

What is Cà Ri Gà?

Cà ri gà or Vietnamese chicken curry is a Vietnamese curry dish that combines a variety of aromatics, and fragrant spices for a warm and hearty curry. The dish features tender slow-cooked pieces of chicken, potatoes, taro, and carrots that are all simmered in a coconut-based curry broth.

Typically, Vietnamese curry chicken is served with a side of baguette for dipping and can also be referred to as banh mi ca ri ga. It can also be served over steamed rice or rice noodles as well.

A bowl of Vietnamese chicken curry garnished with fresh cilantro.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese curry chicken is the most delicious and satisfying dish to make when it’s cold outside. Here are three reasons why you will love this ca ri ga recipe.

  1. Full of rich aromatic flavors. This Vietnamese chicken curry recipe incorporates garlic, shallots, ginger, and lemongrass for bold and rich flavors that perfectly complement the sweet coconut base.
  2. Warm and Comforting. Ca ri ga is the epitome of comforting. The tender chicken and slow-cooked potatoes, taro, and carrots make it a delicious and robust meal.
  3. Versatile. You can adjust the heat level and serve your bowl of Vietnamese chicken curry with rice, noodles, or a baguette based on your preferences!

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following items of kitchen equipment to make this Vietnamese curry recipe.

  • Mini Food Processor: if you’d like to cut the time to prep your aromatics, use a small food processor to chop them up.
  • Tenderizer: to release the aromatic flavors from the lemongrass, you will need to pound it with a tenderizer.
  • Mixing Bowl: you will need a large mixing bowl to marinate the chicken.
  • Large Skillet: a large skillet is necessary to lightly pan-fry the vegetables before slow-cooking them in the pot.
  • Large Pot: you will need a large 6 or 7-quart pot to hold all of the ingredients for this ca ri ga recipe.
  • Spider Strainer: a spider strainer or slotted spoon will be helpful to pull out the bay leaves and lemongrass.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients for this ca ri ga recipe at your local Asian or Vietnamese grocery market. I’ve linked everything you can find online for you below.

Aromatics

  • Shallots, garlic, and ginger: shallots, garlic, and ginger are the main aromatics in both the chicken marinade and the Vietnamese curry chicken.
All the aromatics for Vietnamese chicken curry in bowls organized and labeled.

Chicken Marinade

  • Whole Chicken: for this Vietnamese chicken curry recipe, I used an entire whole chicken cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
  • Yellow Curry Powder: yellow curry powder adds a rich curry flavor to the chicken and the broth.
  • Salt: salt to season the chicken
  • Chicken Bouillon Powder: chicken bouillon powder adds a savory seasoning element.
  • Sugar: sugar gently sweetens and balances the salty flavors.
  • Vegetable Oil: vegetable oil seals in the moisture and helps dissolve the spice aromas.
  • Paprika: paprika adds a mild, sweet, smoky, and earthy flavor to the chicken.
  • Shaoxing Wine: Shaoxing wine adds a sweet and dry rice wine flavor to the marinade.
All the ingredients for marinading chicken for Vietnamese chicken curry.

Vietnamese Curry

  • Potatoes, Taro, Carrots: potatoes, taro and carrots are the main vegetables in this ca ri ga recipe.
  • Lemongrass: lemongrass adds a citrusy and hint of ginger aromatic flavor.
  • Yellow Curry Powder: yellow curry powder adds a mild, creamy, earthy, sweet spiced flavor with bitter and pepper notes for a subtle heat. You can use Vietnamese curry powder or any yellow curry powder.
  • Turmeric Powder: turmeric powder is what creates a beautiful and rich brilliantly yellow color.
  • Five Spice Powder: five spice powder or Chinese five spice adds a licorice, sweet and warm flavor.
  • Bay Leaves: bay leaves add an herbal thyme/oregano flavor that adds a subtle bitterness that will keep the Vietnamese chicken curry from being too heavy.
  • Coconut Water: you will slow cook the chicken in coconut water which will add a subtle sweetness and tenderize the chicken.
  • Salt: salt seasons the curry broth.
  • Chicken Bouillon Powder: chicken bouillon powder adds a savory seasoning element.
  • Sugar: sugar gently sweetens and balances the salty flavors.
  • Yellow Onion: yellow onion adds a sweet aromatic element to the broth.
  • Coconut Milk: coconut milk adds a gentle sweetness and a rich and creamy texture.
  • Whole Milk: whole milk adds a rich creamy mouthfeel without added sweetness.
  • Fish Sauce: fish sauce is a finishing ingredient that you will add to taste for that last umami savory finish.
All the ingredients for making the curry in Vietnamese chicken curry organized and labeled.

Substitutions and Additions

This is ultimately your Vietnamese curry recipe that you can adjust based on your preferences. I’ve listed some suggestions for you below.

Substitutions

  • Chicken: instead of a whole chicken you can use any cut of chicken like chicken thighs, drumsticks, etc.
  • Coconut Milk: instead of using both whole milk and coconut milk, if you prefer a richer coconut flavor you can use just coconut milk instead

Additions

  • Heat: if you prefer a spicier curry, you can add Thai chilis, chili flakes or sambal
  • Vegetables: if you’d like more vegetables in your Vietnamese curry recipe, add sweet potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms green beans, etc.

How to Make Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Here are the steps on how to make this Vietnamese curry recipe.

Prep the Ingredients

  1. Pulverize aromatics. In a food processor, add the shallots, garlic, and ginger and pulverize until it is finely chopped. Divide 1/2 for the marinade and 1/2 for the curry. Set aside.
Aromatics after being pulverized in a small food processor.
  1. Marinate the chicken. Cut the chicken into 2-3 inch pieces. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and add 1/2 of the aromatics, salt, chicken powder, sugar, vegetable oil, paprika, and rice cooking wine. Mix all together and cover to marinate for at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.
A cut up whole chicken tossed in a curry marinade.
  1. Pan-fry the vegetables. In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, work in batches to lightly pan-fry the potatoes, taro, and carrot until lightly browned on each side. Set aside on a paper towel-lined baking tray.
Chopped carrots, taro, and potatoes sitting on a lined pan after being pan fried.
  1. Pan-fry the chicken. In a large skillet, heat about 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, work in batches to lightly fry the chicken for about 30 seconds on each side until golden brown. Set aside.
Pan frying marinaded chicken in a large skillet.

Make the Cà Ri Gà

  1. Saute the aromatics. In a large pot, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Then add the lemongrass and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the remaining 1/2 of the reserved aromatics toss to combine and cook until fragrant and golden brown.
Aromatics sautéing in a large stock pot.
  1. Add spices. Lower the heat to low and add the curry powder, turmeric powder, five-spice, and bay leaves. Mix to combine for 30 seconds.
Spices added to a stock pot with aromatics sautéing.
  1. Add chicken and coconut water. Add back the chicken and toss to combine. Then add the coconut water, salt, chicken bouillon powder, and sugar. Cover the pot, increase the heat to medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Then reduce to medium-low heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Chicken and coconut water added to the stock pot with aromatics and spices.
  1. Add milk, coconut milk, and vegetables. After 20 minutes, add the milk, coconut milk, potatoes, taro, carrots and onion. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to taste. Season to taste with extra sugar, fish sauce, or salt. Remove the lemongrass and bay leaves.
A large stock pot of Vietnamese chicken curry cooking.
  1. Serve. Garnish with cilantro and green onions and serve with a slice of French baguette. Enjoy!
A spoon lifting up a chunk of chicken from a bowl of Vietnamese chicken curry.

Tips for the Best Vietnamese Chicken Curry

  • Marinate the chicken in advance. I recommend marinating the chicken for a minimum of 3 hours but preferably overnight so that the chicken has time to absorb all the flavors.
  • Use fresh aromatics. Opt for fresh lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and shallots for the maximum flavor.
  • Cut the vegetables into large pieces. Since the potatoes, taro and carrots may fall apart easily when you slow cook, make sure to cut them into large pieces to prevent this.
  • Pan-fry the vegetables until golden on each side. Pan-frying the vegetables will also prevent them from falling apart when slow-cooked.
  • Taste to adjust. Ultimately, the flavors may vary depending on the ingredients that you use. I recommend tasting and adjusting with more salt, sugar, fish sauce, etc based on your preferences.
  • Serve. You can serve this Vietnamese chicken curry recipe with your choice of baguette, steamed rice, or rice noodles.
  • Better the next day. This ca ri ga recipe is even better the next day! Serving this the next day will give the aromatics and spices time to blend for the best flavor.

Storage Instructions

You can store this Vietnamese chicken curry in airtight jars or containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Reheat: to reheat, simply add the ca ri ga into a pot and heat covered until warm stirring periodically.

Freeze: You can freeze this Vietnamese curry recipe in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend separating the carrots, potatoes, and taro and freezing them in a separate container to prevent them from becoming too mushy. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

How do I serve cà ri gà?

You can serve ca ri ga with fresh warm slices of French baguette, steamed rice, or rice noodles.

What other vegetables can I use?

You can add bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, or sweet potatoes for more textures and flavors.

Can I make this Vietnamese chicken curry recipe in advance?

Yes! This recipe tastes better in the next few days since the flavors will have more time to meld together. You can also freeze the ca ri ga in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Is Vietnamese curry spicy?

This Vietnamese curry recipe is not spicy but you can adjust the level of spice by adding chili peppers or by adding more curry powder.

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A bowl of Vietnamese chicken curry garnished with fresh cilantro.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
This Vietnamese chicken curry or cà ri gà is the quintessential definition of comfort foodwarm, hearty, and delicious. Slice some fresh baguettes to serve with this delicious Vietnamese chicken curry made with a rich, aromatic, sweet, and savory broth, tender chicken, potatoes, taro, and carrots.
Servings: 5 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Aromatics

  • 2 shallots
  • 12 cloves garlic 1 whole bulb
  • 1 inch knob (6 g) ginger

Chicken Marinade

Vietnamese Curry

Serve

  • French baguette sliced
  • cilantro chopped
  • green onion chopped

Instructions

  • Pulverize aromatics. In a food processor, add the shallots, garlic, and ginger and pulverize until it finely chopped. Divide 1/2 for the marinade and 1/2 for the curry. Set aside.
  • Marinate the chicken. Cut the chicken into 2-3 inch pieces. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and add 1/2 of the aromatics, salt, chicken powder, sugar, vegetable oil, paprika, and rice cooking wine. Mix all together and cover to marinate for at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.
  • Pan fry the vegetables. In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, work in batches to lightly pan fry the potatoes, taro and carrot until lightly browned on each side. Set aside on a paper towel lined baking tray.
  • Pan-fry the chicken. In a large skillet, heat about 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, work in batches to lightly fry the chicken about 30 seconds on each side until golden brown. Set aside.
  • Saute the aromatics. In a large pot, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Then add the lemongrass and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the remaining 1/2 of the reserved aromatics toss to combine and cook until fragrant and golden brown.
  • Add spices. Lower the heat to low and add the curry powder, turmeric powder, five-spice, and bay leaves. Mix to combine for 30 seconds.
  • Add chicken and coconut water. Add back the chicken and toss to combine. Then add the coconut water, salt, chicken bouillon powder, and sugar. Cover the pot, increase the heat to medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Then reduce to medium-low heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add milk, coconut milk, and vegetables. After 20 minutes, add the milk, coconut milk, potatoes, taro, carrots and onion. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to taste. Season to taste with extra sugar, fish sauce, or salt. Remove the lemongrass and bay leaves.
  • Serve. Garnish with cilantro and green onions and serve with a slice of French baguette. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Marinate the chicken in advance. I recommend marinading the chicken for a minimum of 3 hours but preferably overnight so that the chicken has time to absorb all the flavors.
  • Use fresh aromatics. Opt for fresh lemongrass, ginger, garlic and shallots for the maximum flavor.
  • Cut the vegetables in large pieces. Since the potatoes, taro and carrots may fall apart easily when you slow cook, make sure too cut them in large pieces to prevent this.
  • Pan fry the vegetables until golden on each side. Pan frying the vegetables will also prevent them from falling apart when slow cooked.
  • Taste to adjust. Ultimately, the flavors may vary depending on the ingredients that you use. I recommend to taste and adjust with more salt, sugar, fish sauce etc based on your preferences.
  • Serve. You can serve this Vietnamese chicken curry recipe with your choice of baguette, steamed rice or rice noodles.
  • Better the next day. This ca ri ga recipe is even better the next day! Serving this the next day will give the aromatics and spices time to blend together for the best flavor.
  • Storage Instructions: You can store this Vietnamese chicken curry in airtight jars or containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat: to reheat, simply add the ca ri ga into a pot and heat covered until warm stirring periodically.
  • Freeze: You can freeze this Vietnamese curry recipe in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend separating the carrots, potatoes, and taro and freezing them in a separate container to prevent them from becoming too mushy. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Nutrition:

Calories: 807kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 2467mg | Potassium: 1959mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 4478IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 229mg | Iron: 7mg

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