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Vietnamese Lemongrass Curry

Our version of this homey chicken curry is fragrant with lemongrass and dotted with islands of Japanese sweet potato. We love having the curry with banh mi, but you can also ladle it over noodles ... or a bowl of rice.

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  • ⅔ cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat Salt or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry paste
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of both
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatoes
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon grapeseed, canola, vegetable, or other neutral oil
  • 1 ½ pounds Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ pound yellow onion, sliced into ¼- to ½ -inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass
  • 16 ounces coconut water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 3 to 4 Thai chilies, seeds and ribs removed if desired

For serving:

1 to 2 baguettes, steamed rice, or ¾ pound bun tuoi (fresh rice noodles), prepared according to package instructions



  1. In a mixing bowl, add shallots, garlic, Red Boat Salt, sugar, curry powder, and curry paste, and mix well. Add the chicken and Mix well. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Cut a cross onto the bottom of the tomatoes and place in a pot with enough cold water to cover. Boil the tomatoes just until their skins shrivel slightly, about 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes and, when they’ve cooled enough to handle, remove their skins. In a bowl, crush the peeled tomatoes and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the potatoes and fry until they’re a light brown. (This will help prevent the potatoes from falling apart in the stew.)

    Prepare the cà ri
  4. In a large pot or wok set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. When oil begins to smoke, add the lemongrass and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken and saute the pieces until they’re browned, then add the crushed tomatoes and bay leaves. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and add potatoes and 3 chilies. Continue simmering, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut water, coconut milk, onion, and fish sauce and bring to medium-low heat. Continue to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Taste. If you’d like a little more heat, add the remaining chili.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and serve with the baguette or noodles.


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