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    Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà)

    A bowl full of light, brothy curry with a golden color!! When I whip up Vietnamese Chicken Curry, I simmer tender chicken with fragrant spices, veggies, and creamy coconut milk. It has touch of lemongrass, garlic, and fish sauce to create that umami Asian curry flavor. How can that not be delicious?

    Now you have my attention my friends. That’s Cà Ri Gà, or Vietnamese Chicken Curry, for you!! This curry is a perfect example of the balance of flavors that Vietnamese cuisine is famous for.

    If you’re looking for a new curry, this Vietnamese Curry is an absolute must try! Oh, just try it like locals, with some crusty French Baguette type bread (though I myself love it just as much with my rice).

    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    I am always up for trying one more curry. Any time, all the time. Curry to me is very fascinating. It can be so different than the ones I grew up with in curry land where it originated.

    My classic Chicken Masala and Chicken Korma are the rich, full of spices curries I grew up on.

    But as I started traveling, I came across Japanese Beef Curry in Australia, Thai Curries almost everywhere now a days, and the South African Curry I learned from Jason.

    And thanks to GyspyPlate, we really started exploring more curries like Sri Lankan Curry, Jamaican Curry, and now this Vietnamese curry.

    Give me more. All good. So, so good. There is something when you have a bowlful of this curry with my favorite rice. Ultimate soul warming, comfort food for me!!

    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    What is Cà Ri Gà?

    The term “Cà Ri Gà” is Vietnamese and has two main components: “Cà Ri” is derived from the word “curry,” and “Gà” means “chicken” in Vietnamese.

    So, the literal translation of “Cà Ri Gà” is “Chicken Curry.” A curry made with chicken, adapted to fit the local Vietnamese flavors and ingredients.

    Vietnamese Chicken Curry has its roots in a blend of Indian and French influences. While curry wasn’t originally part of Vietnamese cuisine, it made its way there through cultural exchanges. Vietnamese adaptations added lemongrass, fish sauce, and coconut milk, giving it a unique flavor. French colonial influence introduced ingredients like potatoes and carrots. Over time, it became a staple comfort food for special occasions and family meals.

    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    Vietnamese Curry Powder

    Curry powder originated from India but was popularized by the British during their colonial rule. It’s not typically used in authentic Indian curries but is widely used elsewhere.

    Vietnamese curry powder, called “Bột Cà Ri,” is similar to Madras Curry Powder but adjusted for Vietnamese taste buds. It usually includes spices like turmeric, chili, coriander, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, anise, allspice, and salt. You can find it in Asian grocery stores or online.

    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    Ingredients Needed

    • Chicken – I like bone-in, skin-on or skinless chicken pieces for this curry. You can use a whole chicken cut into pieces, or go with thighs and drumsticks.
    • For chicken marinade – Lemongrass, shallot or onion, curry powder, garlic, fish sauce, chicken bouillon, oil.
    • Vegetables for curry – Shallot, carrots and potatoes (we used mini potatoes, but you can use regular too).
    • Aromatics – Garlic, lemongrass.
    • Seasoning and flavor enhancers – Curry powder, fish sauce, salt, sugar, annatto powder (optional, but it gives a beautiful orange golden hue).
    • Oil – Any of your preferred mild cooking oil.
    • Coconut milk – Creates a creamy, rich base.
    • For garnish – Any fresh red chili, cilantro, lime.

    Authentic Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe

    1. Marinate the Chicken: To start, I pound the lemongrass and finely chop it. Then, I combine the chicken with the lemongrass, shallot, garlic, curry powder, fish sauce, chicken bouillon, and oil in a large bowl. After covering it with plastic wrap, I let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

    marinating chicken

    2. Sear Potatoes and Carrots: Pre-cooking these veggies in hot oil gives them a light crust, adding a layer of texture and flavor to the finished dish. Plus, they’ll hold their shape and not turn mushy when cooking along with chicken. They don’t need to be fully cooked. Once slightly browned, I take them out and put them on a plate.

    browned potatoes and carrots

    3. Brown the Chicken: Important for sealing in the juices and giving the chicken a nice, caramelized exterior. I heat up some oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then, I add the chicken in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Doing it in batches ensures nice browning instead of getting steamed. Plate it out.

    browned chicken

    4. Cook Spices In the same pot, I cook the shallots until soft, then add garlic and curry powder, stirring well. After that, I add annatto powder and lemongrass, letting them cook a bit. To prevent sticking, I pour in some water, scraping up any flavorful bits from the bottom of the pot.

    5. Mix Chicken and Spices: I put the chicken back in the pot and mix it well, then cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.

    6. Add Water: Then I pour in 3 cups of water and some salt. Again, I cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.

    7. Add Coconut Milk: Next I add in the coconut milk and the carrots and cook for another 15 minutes, covered. I stir the curry once in a while.

    adding potatoes into the pot

    8. Final Cooking: Now finally I add the potatoes, sugar, and more fish sauce. I cover and cook until the potatoes are soft. Check the taste and add more salt if you need to. While it’s simmering, check out our collection of favorite Vietnamese Recipes.

    finished product

    9. Garnish: I love to serve it with red chili, cilantro, and lime.

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Quality Curry Powder: For an authentic taste, I always go for a quality Vietnamese curry powder brand. If you can’t find it, Madras curry powder is the closest match.
    • Marination Time: I never rush the marination process. The longer the chicken marinates, the better the flavor. Overnight marination is ideal if time allows.
    • Searing: When searing the chicken, I make sure to brown it well without burning the spices. This adds a depth of flavor that’s simply irresistible! I also sear the chicken in batches to avoid steaming.
    • Potato Type: For the potatoes, I prefer using waxy varieties like Yukon Gold or red potatoes. They hold their shape well during the long simmer.
    • Taste as You Go: I always taste the curry as it cooks and adjust the seasonings accordingly. It should have the perfect balance of spicy, salty, and sweet flavors.
    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    Serving Suggestions

    French Bread (Bánh Mì): When I serve this curry, my favorite side is Vietnamese bread rolls (banh mi). Its crispy crust and soft interior are perfect for soaking up the rich curry sauce. It’s a nod to the French influence in Vietnamese cuisine. If I don’t have bánh mì, I go for French baguette or any other crusty bread with a fluffy interior.

    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    Jasmine or Basmati Rice: I also love serving it with either Jasmine or Basmati rice. It pairs beautifully with the spiced, creamy sauce.

    Vermicelli Noodles: Light and easy to slurp, these noodles make your curry into a full-on noodle bowl dinner.

    Fresh Herbs: Think basil, cilantro, and mint.

    Lime Wedges: A little squeeze of lime is great here.

    This Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!

    So one more new curry learned, perfected, and enjoyed. I have always enjoyed my Asian style curries, and this one really shines with its delicate yet bold flavors.

    Try GypsyPlate’s version of Cà Ri Gà, you are going to love it!

    Vietnamese Chicken Curry, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of vietnamese chicken curry on the Gypsy Plate
    featured image for vietnamese chicken curry recipe

    Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà)

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    My Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Cà Ri Gà, beautifully combines spices and aromatics in a coconut based broth. It's a must try for all curry lovers!


    Chicken Marinade

    • 2.5 lbs chicken (we use bone-in, skinless chicken thighs cut into large chinks and whole drumsticks)
    • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised (discard the outer tough layers, finely chop or pound center)
    • 3 Tbsp Madras curry powder (see note 1)
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
    • 1 chicken bouillon (cube or packet)
    • 1 shallot or ½ small onion, finely chopped
    • 1.5 Tbsp oil

    Vietnamese Chicken Curry

    • 3 Tbsp oil, divided
    • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
    • 6-7 mini potatoes or 3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
    • 1 shallot or ½ small white or yellow onion, sliced or diced
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 3 lemongrass stalks, bruised with outer tough layers discarded, and cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 2 tsp curry powder
    • 1 tsp annatto powder (optional for color)
    • 3 cups of water
    • 1 13.5oz can coconut milk
    • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
    • salt to taste
    • ½ tsp sugar

    To Serve

    • red chili
    • cilantro
    • lime
    • Vietnamese rolls, French baguettes, rice or vermicelli noodles


    1. In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, curry powder, fish sauce, chicken bullion, and oil. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
    2. While the chicken is marinating, heat 1.5 Tbsp oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and carrots and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly browned on all sides. They do not need to be cooked through. Plate them out.
    3. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade (reserve marinade), shaking off the excess marinade and brown the chicken piece on all sides in small batches, without crowding the pan too much. (You can add a splash of more oil if needed for this step). Plate it out.
    4. In the same pan, add remaining oil and sauté shallots for a minute. Add garlic along with curry powder and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add in annatto powder and lemongrass and cook for a minute. Add 2-3 Tbsp water to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
    5. Add chicken back along with any reserved marinade to the pot and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
    6. Add 3 cups of water, along with salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add coconut milk along with carrots. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    7. Add potatoes, sugar and fish sauce. Cover again and cook for another 20-25 minutes, or till potatioes are tender. Taste and adjust for salt.
    8. Garnish with red chili, cilantro, lime wedges and serve with French bread, rice or vermicelli noodles.


    1. If you can find Vietnamese style curry powder, use that. But Madras is more readily available.
    2. Leftovers: As with any other curry or stew, this curry enhances flavors as it sits for a few days in the refrigerator. Simply refrigerate in an air tight container and it's good for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on stovetop until heated through. I do not recommend freezing this curry, as coconut milk does not freeze well.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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