This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a dish that was served at almost every party my family attended when I was a kid. A big pot of Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry, next to a platter of sliced French bread, is a Vietnamese party staple. Vietnamese curry differs from Indian and Thai curries in that the curry flavor is subtle, and the consistency is not as creamy, making it perfect for dipping with French bread. If you don’t have fresh French bread on hand, serve Ca Ri Ga with a side of warm rice.
It was news to me that you can buy sliced chicken drumsticks, which mom says are a necessity for this recipe. We found ours at the local Chinese/Vietnamese market, but if you can’t find a butcher who will chop the drumsticks for you, using whole drumsticks or thighs should also work – just make sure to add some cooking time to ensure they cook through.
Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry
INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings:
For the Ca Ri Ga marinade:
- 2 lbs. sliced chicken drumsticks
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1.5 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more, if you like it spicy)
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
For the Ca Ri Ga broth:
- 1 Tbsp. EVOO
- 2 tsp. garlic
- 3 C. water
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
- 1/4 C. lemongrass, cut into long, 4″ pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 C. carrots, peeled & chopped into thick, 2″pieces
- 1 C. sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into 2″ chunks
- 1 C. red potatoes, peeled & chopped into 2″ chunks
- 1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2/3 C. coconut milk
STEP 1: MARINATE THE CHICKEN
- Place the chicken into a large bowl, and top with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Mix well to combine. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
STEP 2: MAKE THE CA RI GA BROTH
- In a wide pot or a rimmed large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO on high heat. Once heated, add 2 tsp. garlic and toss to bring out the garlic flavor. Add the marinated chicken to the garlic and brown, flipping to brown each side.
- Add 3 C. water, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam, 1/4 C. lemongrass pieces, 2 bay leaves, and the chopped carrots. Once the Ca Ri Ga broth begins to simmer, turn the heat down. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once the Ca Ri Ga has been cooking for 30 minutes, remove 1/2 C. of the broth and set aside. Add to the pot/skillet the sweet potatoes and potatoes. Continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes, and move on to the next step to finalize Ca Ri Ga in the meantime.
STEP 3: FINALIZE CA RI GA
- While the Ca Ri Ga is cooking for the 10 additional minutes noted in the previous step, mix 1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch with the reserved 1/2 C. of broth, forming a slurry. Once the Ca Ri Ga has cooked the additional 10 minutes, slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the pot/skillet, and stir to only slightly thicken.
- Add 2/3 C. coconut milk to the Ca Ri Ga and stir. Cook an additional 5 minutes before removing from heat.
- Serve Ca Ri Ga with toasted French bread for dipping, or ladled atop your choice of rice. Enjoy!
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