This typical South-east Asian curry is
simple to make and delicious to eat. Saigon is home to many stalls
specializing in chicken or seafood curries. The one thing common to all is
the use of a general Indian curry powder and coconut milk. Serve this
curry with baguettes for mopping up the sauce, or steamed fragrant rice or
1-2 medium sized
Indian curry powder or garam masala
Skinless chicken thighs or chicken portions
Raw cane sugar
Galangal, peeled and chopped
Lemon grass, chopped
Chili paste or dried chili flakes
Sweet potatoes, peeled and cubes
Fresh basil and coriander (cilantro), stalks removes
Can coconut milk
Ground black pepper
In a small bowl, mix together the curry
powder or garam masala and the turmeric. Put the chicken thighs in a
bowl and coat with half of the spice. Set aside.
To make the caramel sauce, heat the sugar
in a small pan with 7.5 ml water, until the sugar dissolves and the
syrup turns golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat a wok or wide heavy pan and add the
oil. Stir-fry the shallots, garlic, galangal and lemon grass until they
begin to smell fragrant. Stir in the rest of the turmeric and curry
powder with the chili paste or chili flakes, followed by the chicken,
moving it around the wok for 2-3 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes, then the nuoc mam,
caramel sauce, coconut milk and 150 ml water. Stir well to combine the
flavors. Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for
about 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Season with salt and pepper and stir half
the basil and coriander through the curry.
Garnish with the remaining herbs.
Making pork or shrimp curry
You don't have to use chicken for this
curry. It is equally good made with pork or shrimps, or a combination of
the two. Galangal is available in Asian stores, but you can use fresh
root ginger, if you prefer.