This Vietnamese chicken curry dish was no doubt influenced by the small Indian population that took up residence in Vietnam. Our interpretation of curry, however, differs from the Indian curries that I have had. While Indian curries tend to be thicker and more sauce-like, the Vietnamese version is more like a broth, which yields a slightly less pungent flavor.
Prep Time 30mins
Cook Time 1hr
1.3kgwhole chicken, chopped into 10 pieces
1bird’s eye chili pepper, minced
3tspsalt (+/- to taste)
5carrots, cut into 3 cm long pieces
Chopped cilantro for garnishing
Combine the marinade ingredients and evenly cover each cut of chicken with it. Marinate in the fridge overnight.
Broil chicken pieces in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning them halfway through. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point, rather just the surface should be browned.
Heat oil in a large pot over high heat and sauté the diced onion, garlic and minced lemongrass until fragrant. Add the broiled chicken, additional salt, sugar, turmeric and curry powder. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Pound the ends of the lemongrass stalks, then add them to the pot along with the hot water. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer covered. After 20 minutes, add the chopped carrots and potatoes, and allow to simmer covered for another 20 minutes.
Check the salinity of the broth, adding more salt if necessary. (Note: The quantity of salt listed is a rough estimation. I actually don’t measure things out very precisely when I’m cooking. Rather, I adjust the seasoning as I go.) Then, add the fish sauce and coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Continue boiling for about 5 minutes.
Serve over steamed white rice, vermicelli rice noodles (bún, not bánh phở) or with a crusty baguette. Garnish with ground pepper and chopped cilantro. For those who like it spicy like me, add some chopped bird’s eye chili peppers.