Vietnamese Chicken Ragout

The name of this dish had already reflected a strong French influence on Vietnamese cooking as carrots and potatoes were not part of our staple diet, only until the French came. This ragout is much lighter than the French version, and resemble similarly to one served in Pondicherry, Southern India. The use of lemongrass and five spices is the key to this dish’s unique Oriental taste. Vietnamese “banh mi” – baguette is often served with this dish.

Ingredients (for four):

  • 800gr to 1kg chicken breasts and thighs with bone, cleaned and chopped into 3-5cm pieces
  • 20ml vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 shallots, pounded.
  • 1 to 2 tsp chilli oil
  • 20gr shredded lemongrass
  • ½ tsp coarse dried chilli
  • 1 tsp five spices
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped, or 40ml tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp sea salt & sugar
  • 1lt chicken stock
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, bruised
  • 200gr carrots, cleaned and diced into large pieces
  • 300gr baby potatoes
  • Bunch of fresh coriander

Method:

  • Heat a large saucepan with oil, add shallots, lemongrass and chilli oil. Stir constantly, and not let the ingredients burnt until a pungent spicy fragrance released.
  • Put in the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Once the chicken is slightly cooked, add five spices, chilli, salt and sugar.
  • Simmer the chicken slowly with tomato sauce or finely chopped tomatoes for 5 minutes. If the sauce is getting low, top up with chicken stock.
  • Once firmed, add all the stock and lemongrass to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add carrots and potatoes on top of the chicken and simmered for another 20 minutes with occasionally light stir.
  • Remove the lemongrass stalks and serve in medium size bowl with topped coriander leaves for garnish.