Monday, April 12, 2010

Vietnamese Chicken Curry

I've always wanted to try and make Vietnamese Chicken Curry at home. So when a Vietnamese friend of mine offered her mum's recipe for me to try out, I was very excited and couldn't wait to start cooking. Unfortunately with many Asian mum recipes, quantities of ingredients and timing can vary since a lot of them don't use measuring cups or spoons and don't follow a step by step recipe when they cook. Instead they often adjust taste as necessary or prefer to look at the consistency of the dish as they are cooking. So when I got my friend's mum's recipe, there were a few steps I wasn't too clear about, nor could I locate all the ingredients written in the recipe. So instead I have modified her recipe and incorporated principles from other Vietnamese curry recipes to make the following recipe below:


1kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp mild curry powder
2 tbsp Vietnamese curry granules added to 100ml hot water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 birds eye chillies, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
4 curry leaves
1 brown onion, chopped
½ tbsp instant coffee granules added to ¼ cup hot water

1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
400ml  Yeo's Singapore hot curry sauce
1 x 375ml can coconut juice
1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and lower two-thirds of the stalks (the whitish bits) cut into roughly 2 inch pieces and bruised with the back of a knife
Vegetable oil


Add all the marinade ingredients together with the chicken into a mixing bowl. Mix well then place into a large ziplock bag. Leave in the fridge to marinate overnight to allow the flavours to develop.

Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large heavy based fry pan and shallow fry the potatoes over high heat until brown (it is not necessary to completely cook the potatoes at this point, only to brown them). When well browned, remove from the pan and set aside until ready to cook the curry. This helps to keep their shape when added to the curry.

Add some more of the vegetable oil (approx 2 tbsp) and fry the marinated chicken until it is golden brown on all sides. (You may want to do this in several batches to avoid steaming the chicken). Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over low heat, add the can of Singapore hot curry sauce and coconut juice. Transfer the chicken and lemongrass stalks into the curry sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the root vegetables to the curry. Replace the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with rice

Notes & Tips

Whilst it may seem odd that instant coffee is added to curry, it's not that uncommon in Asian curries, since it adds a more robust flavour to the dish.

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