This one-pot vegan Vietnamese Curry is bursting with flavors from the aromatic spices, tender vegetables, and creamy coconut milk. It's paired with crusty baguette or delicate rice noodles and can be made in 40 minutes.
Introduction to Vietnamese Curry
Curries were introduced to Vietnam through maritime trade routes that connected the country to neighboring regions such as India and Southeast Asia. Vietnam's proximity to India, known for its vibrant curry traditions, allowed for the exchange of culinary knowledge, spices and cooking techniques.
Over time, Vietnamese cooks adapted these foreign influences to suit local tastes and ingredients, resulting in the development of unique Vietnamese curries. The Vietnamese version of curry often showcases a lighter and fresher flavor profile compared to its Indian or Thai counterparts, incorporating local herbs, spices, and aromatics to create a distinct culinary experience.
This recipe aims to recreate a vegan version of Cà Ri Gà - a Vietnamese Chicken Curry from Southern Vietnam. Enjoy this dish with baguette, steamed rice, or vermicelli rice noodles!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This vegan Vietnamese Curry recipe is:
- Light and fresh: This curry recipe, with the addition of fresh cilantro and the blend of vegetables and spices is more on the light, fresh and sweet side.
- Plant-Powered Goodness: This vegan curry uses wholesome plant-based ingredients, making it a nutritious and satisfying meal option for vegans and non-vegans alike. It's a great way to incorporate more vegetables and plant protein into your diet.
- Flavorful Fusion: The blend of aromatic spices, such as curry powder, cinnamon, and turmeric, creates a symphony of flavors that will awaken your senses. The richness of coconut milk adds a creamy and indulgent touch, balancing the spices perfectly.
- Customizable and Versatile: This recipe offers flexibility when it comes to ingredient substitutions and variations. From swapping vegetables to adjusting the spice level, you can personalize the curry to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
To make this vegan Vietnamese Curry, you'll need:
A variety of spices and herbs:
- Vietnamese Curry Powder: Vietnamese curry powder typically includes a combination of spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and cloves.
- Cinnamon Powder: Cinnamon is a key spice in Vietnamese curries, adding a warm and slightly sweet note to the dish.
- Turmeric Powder: Turmeric is another essential spice used in Vietnamese curries. It provides a vibrant yellow color and a subtle earthy flavor to the dish.
- Lemongrass: Lemongrass is a signature ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine, including curries. It adds a refreshing citrusy and aromatic note, balancing the richness of the curry and infusing it with a unique flavor.
- Garlic and Shallots: Garlic and shallots are commonly used as aromatics in Vietnamese curries, imparting a savory and fragrant base to the dish.
- Coconut Milk: The creamy and luscious texture of coconut milk is a defining element of Vietnamese curries. It adds richness and a subtle sweetness that complements the spices and balances the flavors.
- Fresh Herbs: Vietnamese cuisine is known for its abundant use of fresh herbs. Coriander (cilantro) is often used as a garnish for Vietnamese curries, adding brightness and a fresh, herbal flavor. Other herbs like Thai basil, mint, or Vietnamese mint may also be used to enhance the dish.
- Chili Oil: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, chili oil or fresh chili peppers can be added to Vietnamese curries to provide a spicy kick and elevate the flavor profile.
- Soy sauce: adds umami flavor to this dish.
- Fried Tofu
In a bowl, combine the carrots, potatoes, and sliced mushrooms. Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and 1 tablespoon of sate sauce to the bowl. Mix well and let it sit for 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
In a shallow pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the marinated vegetables (onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms) and sauté until they turn lightly golden, which should take about 7 minutes.
Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass, then cut into chunks. Use a knife to lightly smash the lemongrass chunks
Add lemongrass chunks, water, and bring to a boil.
Add the ground cinnamon, remaining curry powder, turmeric powder, black pepper.
Pour in the coconut milk and simmer the curry for 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and the flavors have melded together.
While the curry is simmering, prepare the tofu. You can either fry or bake the tofu until it becomes golden and crispy.
Just before serving, add soy sauce, sate sauce, sugar, and chili oil and the cooked tofu to the curry.
Garnish the curry with fresh cilantro.
Serve the vegan Vietnamese curry with baguette or vermicelli rice noodles.
Substitutions and Variations
- Protein Substitutes: If tofu isn't your favorite, you can substitute it with tempeh or seitan for an alternative plant-based protein source. You could also use chickpeas or lentils.
- Vegetable Variations: While this recipe calls for carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms, feel free to experiment with other vegetables like eggplants, zucchinis, bell peppers, broccoli, or green beans. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure they are cooked to your desired tenderness.
- Spice Level: If you prefer milder flavors, reduce the amount of chili oil or omit it altogether. Conversely, if you crave a spicier kick, add extra chili oil or fresh chili peppers to amp up the heat.
- Garnish Options: While fresh coriander adds a vibrant touch, you can enhance the presentation and flavor by adding other garnishes like sliced spring onions, toasted sesame seeds, or a squeeze of lime juice.
If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!