Grandma’s Lagu Gà is the comfort food everyone needs! This ragu marries the best of two worlds – the Vietnamese and the French – for a dish that’s loaded with vegetables and melt-in-your-mouth chicken. Dunk your favorite bread into the thick tomato sauce or serve it with hot rice!
Experiencing warmth in every bite
To me, comfort food is everything, and Grandma’s Lagu Gà is on the top of that list. Along with her braised wings, there are no other side dishes I’d rather have on a weeknight after work or school.
‘Comfort’ doesn’t even begin to capture the feeling of her Vietnamese Chicken Ragu!
It’s the warmth of each bite after the baguette has been dipped in the rich tomato sauce. Pair that with the creamy potato that gently breaks away in your mouth and the sweet carrots that have softened just the way it should like in a Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew), and you have magic.
At the end of the day, Grandma’s Lagu Gà is all about the experience.
And I’d choose this experience every single time.
It’s a humble dish that deserves all the attention it can get because there’s nothing quite like an easy meal that will leave you beyond satisfied!
Why this recipe works
- Using wings means there’s extra flavor from the bone.
- Carrots and potatoes hold their shape and texture well when simmered for a long period of time.
- Adding baked beans gives Grandma’s Vietnamese Chicken Ragu a nutty and satisfyingly gritty texture.
What you’ll need
About the ingredients
Grandma often uses chicken wings or drumettes for her Lagu Gà, but you can use any cut you like. Thigh, breast or maryland would work well. Just make sure to cut them into smaller pieces so they’re easier to eat.
Some families also like to add peas, so if that’s an ingredient you like, include that in the list of vegetables and add them towards the end.
How to make this recipe
Heat up your wok or pan on high and pour in the oil.
When the oil is hot, turn the heat to medium and throw the garlic and onion in to cook for 30 seconds.
After the 30 seconds, turn the heat back up to high and add the chicken in. Give it a stir for 2 minutes or until the meat’s lightly seared.
Pour the tomato paste in and stir it into the chicken.
Note: The idea is to have the paste lightly cover all the pieces, so you might need to add more or use less.
Toss in the potatoes and carrots.
Fill the tomato paste carton with the water and pour it into the wok. Add the remaining water in with the cooking ingredients.
Season with the salt, sugar and chicken bouillon powder.
Let everything cook on a high heat until it bubbles, then turn the temperature to a low-medium. Simmer the contents for 20 minutes or until the chicken’s soft.
Optional: Add a can of baked beans in and continue to cook the Lagu Gà for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve immediately as is with rice or baguettes!
Tips for the best results
- Use butter. Instead of frying the aromatics and meat in oil, swap it out for a richer taste like butter.
- Get a good brown sear on the chicken first. You’ll get more flavor cooking into your Lagu Gà sauce.
- Find good quality baked beans. Grandma always says adding the tomato sauce baked beans makes the ragu even tastier, so invest in a brand that does it well to elevate the dish.
Comforting dishes to serve it with
- Steamed Lemongrass Pork With Shrimp Paste – Fragrant fall apart pork belly is exactly what you’ll get with this side dish.
- Tomato Tofu with Minced Pork – If you want a simple taste using a handful of ingredients, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe.
- Bò Xào Xà Lách Xoong (Vietnamese Beef Salad) – For a serving of greens, layer it up with warm beef slices cooked in garlic and oyster sauce.
- Cá Chiên Sốt Cà Chua (Fried Fish with Tomato Sauce) – Just fry up your favorite fish, then top it with a fresh Vietnamese-inspired salsa.
- Canh Bí Đỏ Thịt Bằm (Kabocha Squash Soup) – Every meal should come with a soup and this one is a classic that makes the most of a kabocha’s natural sweetness!
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This post was originally published on 10/7/19 and updated with FAQs, expert tips and new photos in September 2022.