Cari Ga

Chicken curry with sweet potatoes and carrots. Vietnamese curries are a speciality of the south of the country, where the Indian culinary influences are pronounced. While herbal pastes are generally employed in Cambodian or Laotian curies, they are absent from Vietnamese versions, and fresh herbs such as lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves are used whole as flavour enhancements. Another difference is that for a chicken curry such as this one, the Vietnamese cook will marinate the chicken in a sweetened curry powder before cooking. Potatoes are an integral part of Vietnamese curries, with the preferred type being sweet white yam. Serve this with rice or baguette.

Recipe courtesy of "Curry: Fragrant Dishes from India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia" by David Thompson, copyright 2006. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Cari Ga

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    1 chicken, about 2 1/2 lb (1.1 kg) 2 shallots, cut into wedges
    2 tbsp Vietnamese Cari or store-bought Indian curry powder 1 3/4 pints (1 litre) thick coconut milk
    1 tsp caster sugar 2 tsp annatto seed extract (optional)
    1 tsp salt 2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed then bruised
    4 tbsp vegetable oil 2 kaffir lime leaves
    2-3 white yams or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes 2 tbsp fish sauce
    3 large garlic cloves, crushed 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 4-5 cm (1 1/2 -2 in) long pieces


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    • 1

      Remove the legs from the chicken and split them at the joint into thighs and drumsticks. Remove the wings and discard the tips. Split the chicken in half down the breastbone. Cut out the back and discard or reserve for making stock. Cut each breast crossways into 2 equal pieces. You should have 10 pieces in total.

    • 2

      Mix together 1 tbsp of the curry powder, the sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Marinate for 1 hour.

    • 3

      Heat the oil in a large pot over a moderately high heat and brown the yams all over for about 5 minutes. (The yams should be browned only, not cooked through.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the yams to kitchen paper to drain.

    • 4

      Add the chicken, skin side down, to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes, turning to brown all sides. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to kitchen paper to drain.

    • 5

      Add the garlic and shallots to the pot and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the remaining curry powder, the coconut milk, annatto seed extract, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and carrots, then return the chicken and yams to the pot. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken and yams are tender.

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