Best ever Vietnamese chicken curry
When I’m asked to cite my favourite food experience, this is the one I share. I first ate this on a mountain bike trip with my brother Pete in Vietnam. At the end of a long and exhausting ride, he found us a hole-in-the-wall place. Steaming in a cauldron was this Vietnamese version of chicken curry. At the first spoonful, I cried. Then I ordered two more servings.
SERVES PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes plus overnight COOKING TIME 8 hours on low, 4 hours on high
700g chicken thighs or pieces, with skin on and bone in 1 stalk lemongrass, separated into cream and green ends, peeled and thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 3cm knob ginger, grated (or 1 tablespoon store-bought grated ginger) 2 tablespoons fish sauce 125ml yellow curry paste or Massaman curry paste 250ml good quality store-bought chicken stock (or see my book for homemade) 2 sweet potatoes, roughly chopped 1 large carrot, roughly chopped 1 x 400ml can coconut milk ½ teaspoon granulated stevia 2 bay leaves 2-3 tablespoons arrowroot (if gluten-free or paleo) or cornflour, mixed to a paste with cold water 2 spring onions, finely sliced, to serve roti, poppadoms or flatbread, to serve
THE NIGHT BEFORE 1 Place the chicken, cream end of the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and half the curry paste in the slow cooker insert. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
IN THE MORNING 1 Place the insert in the slow cooker and add the remaining curry paste, stock, vegetables, coconut milk, stevia, green end of the lemongrass and bay leaves.
Stir to combine. Cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
IN THE EVENING 1 If you like a thicker curry, 20 minutes before serving stir in the arrowroot or cornflour paste. Cook on high with the lid off for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Garnish with the spring onions and serve with roti, poppadoms or flatbread of your choice.
FOR A CONVENTIONAL OVEN To make the recipe without a slow cooker, see my slow know-how and conversion guide on page 62.