Asian Recipes/ Curry/ Dinner/ Recipes/ Vietnamese

Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk – Ca Ri Ga

20/01/2022

Try this amazing one-pan dinner – Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk (Ca Ri Ga). It’s the perfect balance of savoury flavour, mild heat and a gentle sweetness everyone will love!

Dipping a Vietnamese bread roll into Vietnamese chicken curry.

Why We Love This

Vietnamese chicken curry is so delicious and super satisfying to mop up with crusty bread! The burst of sweetness from the fried vegetables contrasts perfectly with the tender, juicy chicken. 

It’s full of flavour yet made without store-bought curry pastes – just real ingredients – so you can be super proud you’ve made it completely yourself. 

Adapt this recipe to suit your tastes – add fresh chilli or chilli flakes for heat, or swap out the chicken for pork, tofu or seafood.

Stirring the Vietnamese chicken curry in a large frying pan.

What is Ca Ri Ga? 

Cà ri gà  (ca ri = curry, ga = chicken) is a deliciously fragrant yet mild Vietnamese chicken curry infused with fresh herbs and spices. 

With roots in Indian cuisine, this curry shows its Southeast Asian influence with the inclusion of coconut milk and fish sauce. 

The rich curry broth is quite thin and runny, more like a soup, so it’s no wonder it goes so well with fresh French or Vietnamese bread.

What You’ll Need

Marinade

Curry Ingredients

  • Chicken – We use boneless chicken thighs for convenience. Sub with legs, wings or bone-in for extra flavour. Leave the skin on if possible, as it will add flavour and fry well without any additional oil. 
  • Vegetables – Today we’re using white potato (sub with red, russet, or your favourite variety), sweet potato and carrot. Use all or go with just your favourites. 
  • Coconut Milk – You can use coconut milk, or our favourite is swapping this out for coconut cream for a slightly thicker finish. You can also use regular milk or cream for a non-coconut curry.
  • Sugar – Simple white sugar is fine. Sub with palm sugar, coconut sugar or any other sweetener.
  • Vegetable Oil – Canola is a great choice as it has a high smoke point for frying, is inexpensive and doesn’t disrupt the flavours of the curry.
Ingredients laid out to make Ca Ri Ga.

How to make Vietnamese Chicken Curry:

  1. Place your chicken pieces in a small bowl and add the marinade ingredients (curry powderfish saucelemongrassonionchicken stocksugar and garlic). Marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours overnight.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Fry the potatosweet potato and carrot chunks until lightly browned on all sides (around 5 minutes). Note: They don’t have to be cooked all the way through at this stage. This is to “seal” them and help to keep their shape in the curry without turning mushy. Remove the vegetables from the pan, leaving as much of the oil behind as possible.
  3. Keep the heat on high and add in the marinated chicken. Cook for around 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Pour in the water until the chicken is covered.
  1. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the vegetables in at this point and continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes. Scoop off any foam that forms on top with a slotted spoon.
  2. Pour in the coconut milk once the vegetables are soft and cooked all the way through. You can serve the curry now if you like it thinner. Optional: If you prefer a thicker soup, add in the cornstarch slurry mix, and stir for a minute until the curry thickens.
  3. Optional: Add chilli oil for extra heat and flavour.
  4. Switch off the heat and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs like coriander and serve with crusty Vietnamese or French bread, rice or vermicelli noodles.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Skip Marinating – Skip the marinating if you need a super quick curry. We’re using chicken thighs, so even sitting for a few minutes in the marinade while you fry the vegetables will make ALL the difference. 
  • Chicken – If you’ve marinated the chicken in the fridge overnight, bring it up to room temperature before frying (around 20 minutes). This will help it cook through evenly. 
  • Broth – For a clearer, brighter curry, scoop off any foam that forms as you’re cooking. 
  • Vegetables – Chop them into bigger chunks to stop them breaking down while cooking. Frying first also helps stop them from turning to mush in the curry. They don’t need to be cooked the whole way through, just until they have a nice crispy crust on the outside. 
  • Spices – Be careful not to burn the spices when frying the chicken as this can make the curry taste bitter.

FAQs

What’s usually served with cà ri gà?

This curry is usually served with crusty Vietnamese bread rolls (banh mi) due to the influence of French culture on Vietnamese cuisine. If you don’t have Vietnamese rolls, go for baguettes or regular bread rolls that are crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They really soak up the curry sauce perfectly! 

Surprisingly, it’s not usually served with rice (although it does taste amazing with it!). Another alternative to try is rice vermicelli noodles or mung bean / glass noodles, topped with the curry and a handful of coriander / cilantro, Vietnamese mint or bean sprouts.

How is this different from other curries?

This Vietnamese curry has a thinner, runnier broth than other types of curry which are usually much thicker. In flavour, this version tastes somewhere between a Japanese curry (such as curry udon) and a Thai curry such as panang chicken curry), but without the umami tones from shrimp paste or MSG.

Why should I fry the vegetables (sweet potato, potato & carrot) first?

Frying the vegetables first gives them a crispy coating, which helps them hold their shape in the curry broth without turning to mush. It also helps seal in their individual flavour, rather than everything throughout the whole dish tasting the same. We love the sweet burst from biting into a piece of carrot, and the creaminess from pieces of potato or sweet potato.

How to Store

This curry will last for a few days in the fridge, and 2-3 months in the freezer in an airtight container. Freeze in portions to make it super easy to reheat for lunch or dinner.

Variations

  • Protein – Swap the chicken for diced pork, tofu or seafood. Remember to adjust your cooking time accordingly. 
  • Curry Seasoning – Use Japanese curry roux for an extra thick curry sauce.
  • Add Heat – Infuse your marinate with finely chopped fresh chilli or chilli flakes.
  • Optional Garnishes – Top your finished curry with a handful of fresh coriander / cilantro leaves, or sprinkle with fried shallots.
  • Add Veggies – Around 5-10 mins before you’ve finished cooking, add a handful of green beans, spinach, bok choy, gai lan or capsicum / bell pepper. 
  • Add Even More Flavour – Add a handful of finely sliced kaffir / makrut lime leaves or a whole bay leaf or two in with the marinade, and make sure to marinate the chicken overnight. 
  • Serving a Crowd – Make a batch of banh xeo to serve as an entree before the curry!
A bowl of Vietnamese curry with a side serve of crusty bread.

Try these game changing curries next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Bowl of ca ri ga, served with fresh bread for dipping.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk – Ca Ri Ga

Try this amazing one-pan dinner – Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk (Ca Ri Ga). It’s the perfect balance of savoury flavour, mild heat and a gentle sweetness everyone will love!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 657kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Ingredients

  • 650 g chicken thighs 1.5 lb, boneless, sub with more traditional legs, wings or bone-in for extra flavour
  • 1 potato peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 sweet potato 250 g / 8.8 oz, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 carrot 125 g / 4.4 oz, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • 200 ml coconut milk sub with coconut cream or regular milk for a non-coconut finish
  • 3-4 cups water to cover the chicken (amount will vary depending on the depth and width of your pot)

Chicken marinade:

  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder use Vietnamese Ca Ri Ni an Do (Madras Curry Powder), S&B Curry Powder!
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder sub with onion or celery salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 garlic chopped finely
  • 3 cm lemongrass chopped finely
  • 1 onion chopped sub with 2 shallots

Optional

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch to thicken, mixed with 1 tbsp cold water, sub with flour or tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil for heat, sub with chilli powder or flakes
  • 1 handful coriander for garnish
  • 2 Vietnamese rolls sub French baguettes
  • vermicelli rice noodles
  • white rice

Instructions

For the Marinade:

  • Place your chicken pieces in a small bowl and add the marinade ingredients (curry powder, fish sauce, lemongrass, onion, chicken stock, sugar and garlic). Marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours overnight.
    650 g chicken thighs, 1.5 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp chicken stock powder, 1 tsp sugar, 3 cm lemongrass, 1 onion, 2 garlic

For the Curry:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Fry the potato, sweet potato and carrot chunks until lightly browned on all sides (around 5 minutes). Note: They don’t have to be cooked all the way through at this stage. This is to “seal” them and help to keep their shape in the curry without turning mushy.
    1 potato, 1 sweet potato, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 carrot
  • Remove the vegetables from the pan, leaving as much of the oil behind as possible.
  • Keep the heat on high and add in the marinated chicken. Cook for around 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Pour in the water until the chicken is covered.
    3-4 cups water
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the vegetables in at this point and continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes. Scoop off any foam that forms on top with a slotted spoon.
  • Pour in the coconut milk once the vegetables are soft and cooked all the way through. You can serve the curry now if you like it thinner. Optional: If you prefer a thicker soup, add in the cornstarch slurry mix, and stir for a minute until the curry thickens.
    200 ml coconut milk, 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Optional: Add chilli oil for extra heat and flavour.
    1 tbsp chilli oil
  • Switch off the heat and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs like coriander and serve with crusty Vietnamese or French bread, rice or vermicelli noodles.
    1 handful coriander, 2 Vietnamese rolls, vermicelli rice noodles, white rice

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Skip Marinating –Skip the marinating if you need a super quick curry. We’re using chicken thighs, so even sitting for a few minutes in the marinade while you fry the vegetables will make ALL the difference. 
  • Chicken – If you’ve marinated the chicken in the fridge overnight, bring it up to room temperature before frying (around 20 minutes). This will help it cook through evenly.
  • Spices – Be careful not to burn the spices when frying the chicken as this can make the curry taste bitter.
  • Protein – Swap the chicken for diced pork, tofu or seafood. Remember to adjust your cooking time accordingly. 
  • Curry Seasoning – Use Japanese curry roux for an extra thick curry sauce.
  • Optional Garnishes – Top your finished curry with a handful of fresh coriander / cilantro leaves, or sprinkle with fried shallots.
  • Add Heat – Infuse your marinate with finely chopped fresh chilli or chilli flakes.
  • Add Veggies – Around 5-10 mins before you’ve finished cooking, add a handful of green beans, spinach, bok choy, gai lan or capsicum / bell pepper. 
  • Add Even More Flavour – Add a handful of finely sliced kaffir / makrut lime leaves or a whole bay leaf or two in with the marinade, and make sure to marinate the chicken overnight. 

    Nutrition

    Nutrition Facts
    Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk – Ca Ri Ga
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    657
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    45
    g
    69
    %
    Saturated Fat
     
    23
    g
    144
    %
    Trans Fat
     
    1
    g
    Polyunsaturated Fat
     
    6
    g
    Monounsaturated Fat
     
    12
    g
    Cholesterol
     
    159
    mg
    53
    %
    Sodium
     
    670
    mg
    29
    %
    Potassium
     
    1131
    mg
    32
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    34
    g
    11
    %
    Fiber
     
    6
    g
    25
    %
    Sugar
     
    7
    g
    8
    %
    Protein
     
    32
    g
    64
    %
    Vitamin A
     
    14239
    IU
    285
    %
    Vitamin C
     
    18
    mg
    22
    %
    Calcium
     
    82
    mg
    8
    %
    Iron
     
    4
    mg
    22
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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    Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk - Ca Ri Ga

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