Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe

Three different views of Vietnamese chicken curry
Nancy Lopez-McHugh
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Vietnamese curry is not as well known as Indian and Thai curries, but it's just as flavorful. Consider this recipe for Vietnamese chicken curry (cà ri gà).

If desired, you can substitute half broth and half coconut cream for the whole milk in this recipe. 

It is traditionally served with slices of baguette inspired by the French colonization of Vietnam. All you do is dip your bread into the curry broth and enjoy.


  • 3 pounds/13.6 kg bone-in chicken meat (use a mixture of dark and white meat for a more flavorful curry)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 2 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 4 large cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 (3-inch/7.62-cm) piece of ginger (peeled and finely minced)
  • 3 tablespoons Vietnamese curry powder (or Madras powder if not available)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt (sea salt, or to taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 stalks​ lemongrass (bruised)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 6 small potatoes (russets, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices)
  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into thick, even slices)
  • 8 medium carrots (peeled and cut into thick, even slices)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Optional: baguette and/or rice noodles (for serving, if desired)

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut the chicken into serving-size portions (legs, thighs, breasts, wings).

  2. Season each piece of chicken with a little salt and ground black pepper and set aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. Add the onion and shallots and sauté until they are soft and translucent.

  4. Push them to a side and add the chicken pieces, cooking the meat until it begins to brown.

  5. Next, add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté for 3 minutes. Then sprinkle in the curry powder, the salt, and half of the sugar, and stir well.

  6. Add the lemongrass, fish sauce, chicken broth, and coconut milk. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

  7. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot. Stir well, cover, and allow to simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  8. Pour in the whole milk and simmer uncovered for about 8 minutes. Before serving, taste the broth and, if needed, add more curry powder, salt or any of the other seasonings. 

  9. Once the curry is to your liking, serve with some rice noodles and baguette slices on the side. Leftovers are even better the next day.