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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If Martha Made Vietnamese-- Cà Ri Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Curry)

This was our refrigerator when we came home from the cabin.  2 sippy cups, 2 1/2 gallons of milk, a bowl of baking soda, cheese, assorted dressings, left over taco salad from the night before, and 2 18 packs of eggs, also brought from the cabin with the milk.  Pretty much empty.
My first errand upon returning home, was to MeKong, my favorite Asian market.  And of course to get supplies for cooking Viet dishes.  Asian Market... I'm baaaaackkkkkk!!!  (Silly pasty-white girl sticks out like a sore thumb at MeKong Market, but so be it!)  Cooking once more!

So we're big fans of curry in this house.  Sunny likes to make it as a snack.

As with other Vietnamese's entrees, you can serve this curry with rice noodles or rice.  But really, my very favorite a big loaf of crusty French bread.  Go ahead and sop up the creamy broth with the bread like the Vietnamese do.  Life's too short not to!  Papa said this was one of his very favorites yet!  

A note about the chili.  I don't shy away from spicy foods.  Living so close to the Mexico border, we'd give up too many wonderful foods if we eliminated the spicy ones.  In fact anything that can add a little spice to my life is a good thing!  Very good indeed!  However, as a mama, I know I'm not the only one eating this spicy food.  I'll never remove spicy foods from our home, and I alwasy serve a spicy food with a starchy carb to soak up the heat if need be.  The kiddos have always been exposed to spicy foods, and although I've never made them eat it, inevitably they try it.  Sometimes it's only a bite, and other times it turns into a whole meal.  Consequentially, we have kiddos that like spicy food.  Sunny and Patch have both really enjoyed spicy foods from a young age, 5ish.  Livy likes spicy foods but not too much, and Boo could do without it.  T&J have on a couple occasions had a bit of something spicy too and needed to quickly resort to milk or bread, then they've both gone back for more.  
All this to say, I don't put the chili sauce (or flakes) in at the beginning like this recipe calls for.  Some curry powders can be hot.  Some are not.   It's hard for me to remember what's what in my spice cabinet.  So, I wait till the recipe is complete, and only after sampling, do I add the chili sauce/flakes to taste.  I do like things a bit spicy, but not an inferno that leads to firey hot curry death!
To start, I'm going to get out my favorite small kitchen appliance, my Vita-Mix 5000, which is really just a blender with enough horsepower to power a small suburban metropolis.  You can use a food processor too, but I don't thing a regular blended has enough umph to grind up the woody lemongrass.  I add the lemongrass, and blend it up until is a smooshed-up, pulpy mess.  In hind sight, I should have blended it even more.
Then to the mixer I add, the ginger, garlic clove, and onion.  Mix till a paste.  No liquid will be needed.
In a large saucepan heat the oil, then add the lemongrass paste.  Sauté for a couple minutes just to heat it through.  Add curry powder and chili flakes/paste and heat through again for just a minute or so.
Add chicken and coconut milk. (Don't accidently purchase coconut juice!  You will need coconut milk.)  I needed, add water (or chicken broth) to cover chicken.  Simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes.
Add potatoes and carrots.  Continue to simmer at least 20 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender.
Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your favorite carb, rice or bread.  I have to have both because Papa and I can't agree which is better.  Or course French bread is better, but there's no telling him that!

I've frequently seen this recipe use sweet potatoes too.  I might give that a try next time.  The combination of the spice with the sweetness of a sweet potato could be an delectable combination.  

3 stalks lemon grass- trimmed and cut into 2" segments
1 clove garlic
1 lg onion, yellow
1" ginger peeled and sliced
2 T oil (vegetable, canola...)
3 T Madras curry powder (this is a type or curry power, not a brand)
2 lb boneless chicken-cut into bite sized pieces (breasts, thighs...)
1 t of died chili flakes or garlic chili sauce
1 can of coconut milk (14 oz can)
3 potatoes-cut into wedges
1 c carrots-cut into chunks
salt and pepper to taste

Coming soon--A basic phở recipe.  The most frequently made Viet dish in our house, probably in the US too.


  1. Cool! Another Vita-Mix lover! We use ours just about daily. I've been craving sweet potatoes for 2 weeks now. A little bit of spice with a sweet potato is nice : )

  2. when i grow up i am getting a vitamix. until that day, my 11 cup cuisinart will do the trick for something liek this. sounds and looks heavenly!! and I can eat again! Now I need an escort to a proper asian market.

  3. you make it look so easy! this is my fave, but i've never tried making it at home. your family is so lucky! while the other kids are eating mac & cheese, they are feasting on this stuff.

  4. (not that anything is wrong with mac & cheese). (this is just way more exciting).

  5. Staci- Just go to the Asian Market! Just do it! It's quite fun! We could go together and be quite the interracial group!

    Pam-So wish I could be your teacher again, and that you could teach me some things too! You sweet lovely young woman!


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