Ragu is a delicious Vietnamese stew packed with carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes simmered in a rich and savory tomato broth. Dip crispy baguette into the broth for a warming and cozy meal!
📘 What is Ragu?
Ragu is a Vietnamese stew influenced by French cuisine. It consists of vegetables and/or meat cooked in a rich tomato broth.
There are many different types of ragu. Some include beef, chicken, or even shrimp. Here, we are making the vegetarian version called “lagu chay” in Vietnamese.
🥣 How to Make Vietnamese Ragu
This ragu recipe requires just 1 pot and 10 ingredients. And almost no active cooking time!
First, sauté shallots and garlic until fragrant, for about 2 minutes. Next, add the diced tomato and cook until the tomato has softened. I recommend using a ripe tomato for the best results.
Next, to add more flavor, stir in a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. It will not only add umami but will also give the broth a deeper red color.
Once done, it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients:
- Mushrooms – Straw mushrooms are often used to make ragu in Viet Nam. However, it’s quite hard to find fresh ones here. I recommend using cremini or oyster mushrooms, which are a good substitute.
- Carrots – For a natural sweetness.
- Potatoes – Use potatoes that hold together well, like Yukon Gold or red potatoes.
- Salt and sugar – For a balance of sweet and salty!
- Optional spices – Cinnamon, coriander, and anise. Spices are not always used to make ragu, but I do find it adds more flavor.
- Water – Ragu is sometimes prepared with coconut water instead of plain water. It brings sweetness and a very subtle nuttiness to the broth. If using coconut water, omit the sugar.
Simmer everything in a deep pot for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. You can use a large saucepan or a Dutch oven. It does not really matter.
Finally, to finish the ragu, garnish with a handful of fresh cilantro and thinly sliced onion!
And if you want to add just a touch of brightness, finish the ragu with a squeeze of lime!
No, it’s totally optional! Frying annatto seeds in the oil just adds a deeper orange color to the broth. It doesn’t have any impact on flavor.
I tried to make it as authentic as possible and as close to the ragu as I tried in Vietnam. Be aware there are as many versions as cooks, so there is not one authentic recipe.
A big yes! You can use the vegetables you have on hand. Personally, I sometimes add red bell pepper, zucchini, green peas, or tofu to add extra protein!
You can serve ragu with a bowl of white rice on the side or a fresh baguette and dip it into the delicious broth!
It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium heat. I think the ragu tastes even better the next day!
This plant-based ragu is perfect for any night of the week, especially those chilly evenings! It’s super easy to prepare, savory, packed with vegetables, and so warming!
Let me know in the comments, and leave a rating if you try this recipe!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp annatto seeds optional, just for color
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium tomato finely diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups quartered mushrooms
- 4 cups water
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 small potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp each: ground cinnamon, coriander, anise optional, it adds more flavor
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 onion finely sliced
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or Dutch oven. Once hot, add the annatto seeds (if using) and sauté for 2 minutes, or until the oil has turned orange. Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the oil and discard.
- Next, add the minced shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the diced tomato and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the tomato paste and mushrooms and sauté for 3 more minutes.
- Cover with water. Add the carrots and potatoes, and season with salt, sugar, and spices if using. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender.
- Taste and adjust saltiness if needed. Stir in the chopped cilantro and sliced onions, and serve hot! This stew is delicious served with steamed rice on the side. You can also serve it as soup and dip bread into the broth!
- This stew will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
About the Author
Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.
🧀 25 Mind-Blowing Vegan Cheese Recipes!
Sign up for the Full of Plants newsletter and you’ll get new recipes delivered by email weekly, PLUS your FREE 100-page printable eBook!