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    Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà)

    A bowl full of light, brothy curry with a golden hue!! Tender chunks of chicken, aromatic spices, some veggies in a luscious coconut milk base infused with lemon grass, garlic and fish sauce. 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 intricate 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 my husband.

    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!

    So, Lets Talk About Why I Love Cà Ri Gà So Much

    Absolutely Delicious: Vietnamese Chicken Curry is an intricate blend of spices and aromatics like curry powder, lemongrass, garlic and fish sauce in a creamy coconut base. This creates a multi-layered flavor profile that keeps you coming back for more.

    Creamy Texture: The coconut milk gives the curry a creamy, luxurious texture that makes every bite feel indulgent.

    Balanced Heat: The dish typically features just the right level of spiciness, making it accessible to people who can’t handle too much heat, while still delivering a satisfying kick. Great curry to be enjoyed by all ages.

    Versatility: Cà Ri Gà can be paired with various accompaniments, from rice and noodles to crusty bread, making it adaptable to different dining preferences.

    Nutritional Benefits: With protein-rich chicken and nutrient-packed vegetables like potatoes and carrots, it’s a wholesome meal that’s as good for you as it tastes.

    Comfort Factor: There’s something deeply comforting about digging into a bowl of this curry, whether you’re at a family gathering or enjoying a quiet dinner at home.

    Culinary Adventure: For those familiar with other types of curry, Vietnamese Chicken Curry offers a unique twist, introducing the palate to new flavors and spices.

    Easy Customization: The basic recipe can be easily modified to suit individual tastes, whether you want it spicier, creamier, or packed with more veggies.

    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 can be broken down into two main components for easier understanding: “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.

    The origins of Vietnamese Chicken Curry can be traced back to a blend of cultural influences and adaptations, primarily Indian and French.

    Curry was not indigenous to Vietnamese cuisine, but was introduced through Indian influence and can be traced back through trade and cultural exchanges that have occurred over centuries in between these countries.

    The concept of curry itself is deeply rooted in Indian cuisine, and it’s this foundational element that made its way to Vietnam, likely through the maritime spice routes.

    Later these foundational elements were adapted to include local ingredients such as lemongrass and fish sauce, which gave the curry its unique Vietnamese identity.

    However, the dish took on a uniquely Vietnamese character with the use of coconut milk to make the curry base, a departure from some traditional Indian curries that use tomato-based or yogurt-based sauces.

    The French colonial period also had an impact, introducing vegetables like potatoes and carrots into the curry, which are not traditional in other Asian curry dishes but are staple ingredients in French stews.

    Over the time, it become a staple, becoming a comforting meal for special occasions and family gatherings.

    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

    The concept of curry powder has its roots in the Indian subcontinent, but the blend as we know it today is largely a British invention from the time of British colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent.

    You don’t find this spice blend in any authentic Indian curries, but it’s very popular outside India wherever curry has travelled over the years.

    Vietnamese curry powder, locally known as “Bột Cà Ri,” is very similar to Madras Curry Powder and is a carefully balanced blend crafted to suit the unique palate of Vietnamese cuisine. Every curry brand can have a little different blend of spices.

    Normally, curry powder include Tumeric, Chili, Coriander, Cumin Seeds, Cinnamon, Cloves, Bay Leaves, Anis, Allspice and Salt.

    Vietnamese curry powder blend is on milder side. You can find it in Asian grocery stores, or order online. A very good and close substitute is Madras Curry Powder.

    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 Chicken Curry Ingredients

    • Chicken – Bone-in, skin-on or skinless chicken pieces offer the best flavor. You can use a whole chicken cut into pieces, or go with thighs and drumsticks. We prefer skinless bone in chicken in our curries.
    • For chicken marinade – Lemongrass, shallot or onion, Madras 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

    What makes this curry standout is the layering of flavors achieved through careful preparation. The chicken is marinated in advance to absorb the flavors better. Then, it’s seared to lock in the juices before being simmered in the fragrant coconut milk-based broth. Here are the easy steps:

    1. Marinate the Chicken: Pound the lemon grass and remove the hard outer layers. Chop it finely or pound it to mince. Mix chicken, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, curry powder, fish sauce, chicken bouillon, and oil in a big bowl. Cover it with plastic and put it 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, 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. Doing it in batches ensures nice browning instead of getting steamed. Plate it out.

    browned chicken

    4. Cook Spices In the same pot, cook some shallots for a minute. Add garlic and curry powder and stir. Add annatto powder and lemongrass and cook a bit more. Add some water to get the tasty bits off the bottom of the pot.

    5. Mix Chicken and Spices: Put the chicken back in the pot and mix it well. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.

    6. Add Water: Pour in 3 cups of water and some salt. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.

    7. Add Coconut Milk: Pour in the coconut milk and add the carrots. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir once in a while.

    adding potatoes into the pot

    8. Final Cooking: Add the potatoes, sugar, and more fish sauce. 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: Top with red chili, cilantro, and lime.

    Tips and Tricks for the BEST Cà Ri Gà

    • Quality Curry Powder: Choose a good Vietnamese curry powder brand for an authentic flavor profile. The closest match is Madras curry powder if you don’t find Vietnamese style curry powder.
    • Fresh Lemongrass: Using fresh lemongrass stalks can make a world of difference. Discard harder outer layers. Pound them to release those aromatic oils!
    • Marination Time: Don’t rush the marination. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful your chicken will be. Overnight is great if you have the time.
    • Searing: Brown your chicken well but avoid burning the spices during this step. It creates a layer of flavor that’s unbeatable! Sear the chicken in batches to avoid steaming.
    • Coconut Milk: Use full-fat coconut milk for a creamy, luxurious texture. Shake the can well before opening to mix the cream and water evenly.
    • Potato Type: Use waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or red potatoes. They hold their shape better during the long simmer.
    • Taste as You Go: Always taste and adjust seasonings during cooking. The curry should have a balance of spicy, salty, and sweet.
    • Garnish: Fresh herbs, chili, and lime not only make the dish look great but add a burst of flavor right at the end.
    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’s Usually Served With  Cà Ri Gà?

    French Bread (Bánh Mì): The most popular way to serve this curry is with crusty Vietnamese bread rolls (banh mi). The crispy crust and soft inside of these rolls make it perfect for soaking up the luscious curry sauce. It’s a popular choice in Vietnam due to the French influence. If you don’t have Vietnamese bread rolls, you can use French Baguette or any other bread that is crusty on outside and fluffy and soft from inside.

    Jasmine or Basmati Rice: This fragrant rice variety pairs beautifully with the spiced, creamy sauce. It absorbs the flavors like a dream!

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

    Fresh Herbs: Think basil, cilantro, and mint. Fresh herbs can be served on the side to sprinkle over the curry for added freshness.

    Lime Wedges: A little squeeze of lime can really make the flavors pop, so it’s always good to have some wedges on the side.

    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!


    Do Vietnamese eat Curry?

    Yes, Vietnamese people do eat curry, although it’s not as central to their cuisine as it is in countries like India or Thailand. The Vietnamese version, known as “Cà Ri Gà” when made with chicken, is a popular dish especially in southern Vietnam. It’s often enjoyed during special occasions or family gatherings. While it may not be a daily staple, it is a beloved recipe that has been adapted to suit the local palate and ingredients.

    Is Vietnamese curry spicy?

    In general, Vietnamese curry is milder in terms of spiciness compared to Indian or Thai curries. It has a more subdued heat, leaning on the aromatic qualities of ingredients like lemongrass and ginger rather than the pungent heat from an abundance of chilies. However, like many dishes, the spice level can be adjusted according to personal preference by adjusting the curry powder amount. Some variations might include bird’s eye chilies or chili paste to amp up the heat for those who crave a spicier kick.

    How is Vietnamese curry different from other curries?

    Vietnamese curry stands out for its lighter, more broth-like texture. Unlike the creamier Indian curries that often use generous amounts of ghee, yogurt, or cream, or thicker Japanese curries with curry roux, their lighter consistency allows for the delicate flavors of fresh herbs and spices to shine.

    When it comes to spice level, Vietnamese curry is generally milder than its Indian and Thai counterparts. Instead of aiming to set your mouth on fire, it offers a more subdued heat that complements rather than overwhelms the other flavors. This makes it perfect for those who are looking for a curry that’s more balanced and less aggressive in its spice profile.

    How to Store

    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. We do not recommend freezing this curry, as coconut milk does not freeze well.

    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 this one!

    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

    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!


    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 1/2 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 1/2 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
    • 1/2 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 can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

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