Vietnamese chicken ragu with potatoes and carrots (Ga Ragu) recipe

When the weather turns cold, hot soupy meal is one I long for.  It's been pouring rain here lately and the temperature also dropped a few celsius.  Sick at home with nothing to do but napping and wandering around from front to back of the house, I told my mom I want to make something soupy.  She mentioned some beef stew she had and I thought of chicken ragu !  It's perfect for today.

This dish is quite easy to make, doesn't consume too much time other than prepping really.  Here's the recipe:

Vietnamese Chicken Ragu
Serves 6-8

- 16 chicken drums sticks, cut in half (or if you use breast or thigh meat, about 2.5-3 pounds of meat)
- 4 cups of homemade chicken stock (or 1 carton of organic chicken broth)
- 3 cups of water (my mom suggested 1 cup of coconut water but I don't have any.  The coconut water will tenderize the meat, use it if you have coconut water around)
- 6 medium russet potatoes
- 8-10 baby carrots (the type that comes in a bunch with stems intact) OR 4 medium carrots
- 1 can of Hunts tomato sauce (12oz)
- 2 stalks of lemon grass (use the white part), bruised with the back of your knife
- 5 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
- 3 bulbs of scallion, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium white onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 teaspoon of raw cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of mandras curry powder (or curry power if you have any)
- 1/2 teaspoon of five spices powder
- 2 teaspoons spoon of sea salt
- a bunch of green onions
- a bunch of cilantro
- fish sauce for marinate and seasoning
- black pepper for marinate and taste

- Clean and cut the drumsticks into 2 pieces
- Put chicken pieces into a pot, put in 2 table spoon of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper (less if you like), minced garlic and scallions, mix well and let sit for 30 min.

* while the chicken is marinating, peel and cut potatoes into big chunk (I cut mine into 8), clean the baby carrot and cut into 2" size pieces.  If using the larger carrot, cut into 1 inch bite size.

Cooking instructions:
- In a hot pan, drizzle some oil and sear the chicken pieces.  Since it's a lot of chicken, I have to divide the chicken into 2 and sear them in 2 batches.  When the chicken is seared, pour in half of the Hunt's tomato sauce and coat the chicken in it.  Do the same with the second batch of chicken.

- Put all the tomato covered chicken pieces into a big pot, pour in the chicken broth, the water, and the lemongrass.

- Bring the pot up the boil and let it simmer on low for 25 min.

- Add in the potatoes and let it cook for 15 min.

- Add in the carrots and white onions and let cook for 10 min.

- Add in the paprika, curry powder, five spices, raw sugar, sea salt and 1/2 tablespoon of good fish sauce.

- Bring the pot back to boil for 5 min., taste the broth to see if it's to your liking.  Season more with fish sauce if desired.

- Serve stew in a deep dish or bowl, garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro, and a plate of sliced french bread or baguette for dipping.  My mom likes to eat it over rice !  Bon appetit !