Instant Pot Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe (Cà Ri Gà)

March 8, 2018Van
Blog post

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 16 minutes

Serves: 8

Vietnamese Chicken Curry is a dish I love and know very well, I’ve been eating my mom’s version of this dish my entire life. It’s so flavorful & delicious — the contrast of textures when eating it with a crusty baguette is absolute perfection. My recipe is a little different from my mom’s—I prefer a thicker curry so I add a touch of flour and only use coconut milk as my liquid to create a creamy curry that condenses all the flavors. I also use boneless chicken thighs rather than the traditional bone in which can be cumbersome if you’re cooking for a family that includes children.

The defining characteristic of Vietnamese Curry is the Coconut Milk—which makes it completely standout from other curries such as the Indian (British) Version you may be familiar with. This Vietnamese incarnation is much creamier—and in my opinion—much tastier.

Since driving in California Traffic is such a hassle, I figured out that lemongrass essential oil (link here) does the trick without having to drive to the Asian market. Its very concentrated so I just use two drops—fresh lemongrass is better, but this a good option if don’t have any. The spice level of your curry is largely dependent on the specific Madras Curry Powder you’re using—I typically now use the mild since my kids love this dish, but add cayenne to my own bowl since I’m a sucker for spice.

This recipe makes a large portion suitable for multiple servings, but I also use it to make the most delicious Vietnamese Curry Puffs (Recipe Here).  These puffs are not a traditional dish, but I invented them to use some of the leftover curry – so check out that recipe too!

Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe (Cà Ri Gà)

Be sure to click on the accessories list below to get the most out of your Instant Pot.
Best Instant Pot Accessories List

Print Recipe

Instant Pot Vietnamese Chicken Curry Recipe (Cà Ri Gà)

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 16 minutes
  • Serves: 8


  • 3 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Lemongrass Stalks, cut into 3 inch pieces & pounded
  • 2 Cans Coconut Milk, (13.5 ounces each)
  • 6 Carrots, peeled and cut into large bite size pieces
  • 6 Potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite size pieces
  • 1 Large Onion, diced
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 5 Tablespoons Madras Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 4 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 4 Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour, (optional)
  • Cilantro for garnish


  • 1)

    Marinate the chicken:
    Depending on the size of the thighs you can leave them whole or cut into 3-4 inch pieces. Marinate for at least 1 hour with 1 Tablespoon of Madras Curry Powder, 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt, 6 Garlic Cloves (minced) and 1 Tablespoons of Grated Ginger.

  • 2)

    Brown the chicken:
    Press Sauté on the Instant Pot and set it to High, add 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil and once the screen says Hot, brown the chicken – it should take about 5 minutes. Push the chicken to one side of the pot and sauté the onions for 3 minutes or until they are soft and translucent. Sprinkle in 2 Tablespoons of Flour and mix well coating all the pieces in flour, sauté for an additional 2 minutes (you can skip the flour if you prefer your curry more soupy).

  • 3)

    Cook the chicken:
    Add 2 Cans of Coconut Milk, 4 Tablespoons of Madras Curry Powder, 4 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce, 4 Teaspoons of Sugar, 1 Bay Leaf, Lemongrass Pieces (or 2 drops of Lemongrass oil – place the two drops onto a spoon then stir it into the coconut milk – you don’t want to accidentally add too much oil to the pot because the lemongrass flavor will be too overpowering). Scrape the bottom of your pot well, making sure that there is nothing stuck the bottom of the pot (if there is, it can cause a Burn error message). Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and switch the knob to Sealing – Press Manual / High Pressure and set for 2 Minutes – after the timer is up wait an additional 5 minutes while the pressure releases naturally then switch the knob to Venting to release the rest of the pressure.

  • 4)

    Cook the Potatoes and Carrots:
    Add the Potatoes and Carrots, stir your pot so it’s evenly distributed. Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and switch the knob to Sealing – Press Manual / High Pressure and set for 4 Minutes – after the timer is up wait an additional 5 minutes while the pressure releases naturally then switch the knob to Venting to release the rest of the pressure.

  • 5)

    Check the seasoning of your curry. You might need to add additional Fish sauce to suit your taste. Serve with toasty French bread or over Jasmine rice. Garnish with cilantro and Enjoy!

↓ Supplies to make this recipe ↓



  • Walt

    April 15, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    This recipe is amazing! My only suggestion is to add bean sprouts, jalapeño rings and lime juice to the garnish. Thank you, it was better than my local restaurant’s.

    1. Van

      April 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks for trying it out Walt, I’m glad you loved it and awesome to hear that it’s better than your local restaurant!

  • Jenny

    May 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Van, could I use this same recipe using beef? The only liquid is the coconut milk (worried that it’ll burn without other liquids like water or stock)?

    1. Van

      May 6, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Jenny, yes you could use beef. I’ve made it several times and I’ve never gotten burn error – the only time that could happen is if you don’t deglaze the pot well after browning the meat – just be sure there’s nothing stuck to bottom. You’ll also need to adjust the cook time for beef, if you’re using stew meat you can cook it for 30 mins High Pressure & 15 min NPR

      1. Jennifer

        December 30, 2018 at 8:53 am

        What would be the adjusted cooking time if I substitute the chicken with short ribs?

        1. Van

          December 30, 2018 at 9:37 am

          Hi Jennifer, are you using standard short ribs or flanken cut short ribs?

  • Thuy

    August 17, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Can’t wait to try out this recipe! My grocery store only carries lemongrass paste, and I can’t get a hold of the essential oil in time for dinner tonight. Should I use the paste or do you recommend against it? I suppose the only issue would be that it’s going to be floating around in the curry.

    1. Van

      August 17, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Hi Thuy, lemongrass paste will work fine, I think a tablespoon of it would be good. If you have a cloth spice bag you could always put the paste in there if you don’t want it floating around – either way would be fine. Hope you enjoy it!

  • glenn

    January 3, 2019 at 10:55 am

    I loved this recipe! I immediately shared it with my upstairs neighbors who also loved it.

    For my next batch, I’m going to increase the liquid because I love sopping it up with bread and replace half of the white potatoes with sweet potatoes and see how that works out.

    After that, I’m going to try the related pastry crust recipe with this as the filling!

    1. Van

      January 3, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Glad you loved it Glenn! The curry puffs are so good, you’ll love it too!

  • ELSA

    January 9, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    I am excited to try this recipe. If I substitute the chicken thighs with chicken drumsticks, will the cooking time change? Also, can I use frozen minced lemongrass since I already have that?

    1. Van

      January 9, 2019 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Elsa, cook the chicken legs for 5 mins HP instead of 2 mins. Yes you can use frozen minced lemongrass, I think about a tablespoon would be good.

  • Kim

    February 18, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for this delicious recipe! I keep getting burn notices even though I saute the chicken, onion, and flour separately. Do you have any suggestions to prevent that? I have an Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt.

    1. Van

      February 18, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Kim, after you pour in the coconut milk, you have to scrape the bottom of the pot really well with a flat spatula. If anything is stuck to the bottom, you get the burn notice.

  • Lynn Nguyen

    April 5, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Hi! Would I be able to double this recipe in a 8qt pot? If so, does cooking time change?

    1. Van

      April 6, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Hi Lynn, yes you can double the recipe, just keep the same cooking time. Enjoy!

  • Paige

    May 3, 2020 at 10:13 am

    I had been searching for years for a Vietnamese curry like one I grew up with. Every restaurant I tried was too runny/lemongrassy. Finally, I came upon this and it is exactly how I remember Curry Chicken to be. I see a lot of lemongrass issues- I keep lemongrass in my freezer, and just use as necessary. The flavor keeps just fine, and whenever I make it to an Asian market, I just replace. Thank you for this recipe!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Recipe Next Recipe