Cà Ri Gà – Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe

I will show you how to make cà ri gà / authentic vietnamese chicken curry. Vietnamese only uses yellow curry. I am not sure about other regions of Vietnam and how they make their curry, but this is how my mom makes it. The spice level can be adjusted depending on the brand of curry you pick out or you can add more spice by putting in chili peppers.

How is Vietnamese Curry Different?

This Vietnamese curry recipe is distinctly different from other curries by using coconut water and annatto seed oil. Lemongrass and coconut milk is similar to Thai. The coconut water gives this curry a mellow sweetness and also tenderizes the chicken.

I would recommend you use a stewing chicken such as free range rooster chicken. These chicken are more chewy which will be tenderized by the coconut water as the curry simmers. Of course you are free to use any chicken you want, you don’t even have to use coconut water, regular water is fine. Vietnam had extra coconut trees, so a lot of our cooking uses coconut water to add more flavor to our food. It is natural sweetness.

How Spicy is Vietnamese Curry

Vietnamese Curry is very mild compared to other curries such as Thai or Indian. The curry that my mom uses is sort of like an indian curry premix. There’s two spice level, one is mild and one is hot. I usually go for the hot one since I can eat it hot. But the mild one is good too. You can always add more spice by adding thai chili or dried chili peppers.

Generally, the curry I’ve had in Vietnam are not spicy at all. People add more spice by adding chili peppers on the side. Of course, this curry dish is not too popular at restaurants in Vietnam, the only place I’ve had it was at family’s “giỗ” which is the death anniversary dates of our ancestors. They were pretty mild in spice but super delicious!

What is Vietnamese Curry Eaten With

Ca Ri Ga or Vietnamese Chicken Curry, is typically eaten with… pretty much anything. Rice, bread, rice noodles, even instant noodles! It really depends on how thick your curry is and the people’s preference.

For me, I eat my curry with bread when it is first cooked. When it is freshly cooked, the curry broth is not as thick, so I eat it with bread to suck up all that curry broth. As you reheat the curry, the potatoes and carrots melts out into the broth, making it thicker. That’s when I eat it with rice or rice noodles. The curry sticks on to the noodles more when eaten at a thicker consistency.

Test your taste preference!

Ca Ri Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Curry)

This is the central Vietnam ca ri ga (chicken curry) recipe. Since I am from the central Vietnam, my mom makes this dish on many of the family "giỗ" (ancestor's death anniversary day). This curry dish is similar to thai yellow curry but has its own distinct flavor from the annatto seed oil. For that authentic flavor, use whole free range chicken; a rooster if you can find it.
Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Marinade Time2 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai, Vietnamese
Keyword: cari, cari ga, chicken curry, curry, thai curry, vietnamese curry, yellow curry
Author: Chef Q
Cost: $50


Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • 5-6 lbs Chicken (bone in for best broth flavor) chopped to bite size pieces (I used 2 whole free run chicken)
  • 1 whole Garlic minced (use half for marinade, other half for stir-fry later)
  • 2 whole Large Shallots minced (use half for marinade, other half for stir-fry later)
  • 1 oz fresh ginger root minced
  • 1 tbsp chicken granulated seasoning or 1 tsp msg
  • 3 tbsp Lemongrass minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz Vietnamese Yellow curry use 1 oz for the marinade first. The other half will be used for stir-fry later.
  • 2-3 tbsp Fish sauce depending on how salty your brand is, add more if needed when tasting final product. balance with sugar.
  • 3-4 tbsp cooking oil add in AFTER mixing up all ingredients. This will help to keep chicken moist.

Other Ingredients

  • 3 stem Lemongrass clean and smash flat to release flavor.
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 5-6 tbsp annatto seed oil you can make this oil by adding annatto seeds to oil and heat up the cooking oil. don't burn the seeds. 1 tspn of the seeds with 1/2 cup oil. filter the seeds out to get the red color oil.
  • potato and carrot chunks cut to chunks and deep fried 3 mins
  • 2 each white/yellow onions cut/sliced to chunks
  • green onions and cilantro for garnish
  • 3 cans vegetable broth
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 lit coconut water
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • corn starch mix with water for thickening
  • fish sauce/salt for taste adjustments


Marinade Chicken

  • combine all ingredients and mix well.
    Be sure to leave aside half the garlic and shallots for stir fry later.
    add the oil in last AFTER mixing everything.
  • Cover and let marinade for at least 2 hours (not in fridge)
    Can leave in fridge overnight.

Cooking the Curry

  • In a big pot, add in the annatto seed oil and bring the heat up.
  • Add in the lemongrass stem (pounded), stir fry until fragrant.
  • Add in the leftover minced garlic, shallots, ginger and stir fry until turn slight color.
  • Add in the chicken and toss until chicken is evenly seared.
    Add in the chopped onions.
    Add in the rest of the curry package and toss evenly.
  • Add in the vegetable broth, chicken broth, and coconut water.
  • Bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 30 mins.
    Be sure to skim off any foam that comes to the top.
  • Add in coconut milk and potatoes, carrots, and simmer on low heat for 10-15 min.
  • Add in the cornstarch mixed with water to thicken up to your curry. Stir as you slowly pour in.
    Make it thick to enjoy with rice and bread.
    Optional if you don't want it to be thick. and eaten with rice noodles.
  • Taste and add in fish sauce if you want more salty, MSG or chicken granulate if you want more savory, water or coconut water if it is too salty.


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