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Dinner Tonight: Chicken, Lemongrass, and Potato Curry (Ca-Ri Ga)

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I was sold on this recipe from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen the moment after I read the first step. That's where author Andrea Nguyen describes watching the "whirling blizzard" of lemongrass in the food processor as it transforms from chopped stalks into a "fine, fluffy mass." Sure enough, the lemongrass puffs up sort of like cotton candy, before eventually turning into a paste when you add the onion and ginger. Theatrics aside, it's really just a fragrant base for a dish that is far more comforting than I had expected.

But I suppose that is what happens when you combine chicken thighs, coconut milk, and potatoes. Nothing is too dominant in the mix. In fact, instead of lemongrass, the first thing you'll notice is the curry powder. The recipe calls for a Madras blend or a Vietnamese-style one, but that's up too you. Regardless, a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end helps to wake everything up.

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