The Foods of Vietnam by Nicole Routhier, the first Vietnamese cookbook I ever bought and still one of my favorites.
Ca Ri Ga
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, tender, lower third only, chopped
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 to 3 fresh red chile peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 TBS Madras curry paste
3 TBS Madras curry powder
3 TBS fish sauce
1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
2 white-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch slices
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, cut into eighths
2 large ripe tomatoes, core, seeded and cut into eight wedges (I didn't have any tomatoes in, so left them out this time, but do think they add to the curry)
2 cups chicken stock made from backbone, neck and gizzards of the chicken
salt, to taste
2 large carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
Cut the chicken into serving pieces, reserving the backbone, neck, and gizzards for making the stock.
In a food processor, combine the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, sugar, chilies, pepper, curry paste and powder, and fish sauce. Process to a very fine paste.
In a pie plate or similar dish, spread the paste all over the chicken pieces . Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and brown on all sides. Drain the potatoes on paper towels.
Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the oil from the Dutch oven. Scrape the paste from the chicken and reserve. In batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove the browned pieces to a clean platter.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a clay pot. Add the paste and bay leaves to the oil . (Of course, you may choose to continue using the Dutch oven. The advantage of using a clay pot is that it not only looks nice on the table for serving, but also retains the heat well.) Stirring to keep the paste from burning, fry for about two minutes before adding the onions. Continue to stir and cook the onions until they are lightly browned. Add tomatoes, and stir to coat with the paste. Add the chicken broth and chicken pieces and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes and simmer another 20 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in the coconut milk (or mash one of the potato pieces). Add the coconut milk to the curry and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Be sure to stir during this final cooking time to prevent the curry from sticking on the bottom of the pot.
Serve in shallow bowls with rice or French bread.
I am submitting this to Delicious Vietnam #12, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese food. Founded by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey, and Kim and Hong of Ravenous Couple, Delicious Vietnam welcomes submissions from bloggers around the world. To learn how you might participate, click here. The roundup for Delicious Vietnam #12 will be hosted by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey. Check out the roundup to find the details on who will be hosting Delicious Vietnam #13.