Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce

Lunchroom envy. I love it. Not having it. Giving it. You know, when everyone around the table starts sniffing the air and asking what it is your eating. And you smile smugly and say, “Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce.” And then, unless they cook a lot, or are familiar Vietnamese foods, they look at you blankly. Good times.

Do you want to give lunchroom envy? This dish will do it for you. The aroma of the ginger is intoxicating. I found this recipe in Quick & Easy Vietnamese: 75 Everyday Recipes a book which I’ve sang the praises of many times. If you haven’t gotten you a copy yet, you really don’t know what you are missing.

Everything in the book is easy, and unbelievably tasty. This dish was no exception. My chicken didn’t come out as dark and caramely as the pictures in the book. I think it’s because I used more chicken than what the recipe called for and my chicken steamed a little more than it browned. Didn’t matter it was still delicious. The slight heat from the ginger with the sweetness of the sugar and the earthiness of the fish sauce…perfect.

Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce
Serves 4 – 6

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped shallots or onion
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar or palm sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/4 cup water
3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

Chop the chicken into big chunks by halving each thigh and then cutting each half into quarters. In a large, deep skillet or a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until a bit of garlic sizzles at once. Add the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes, tossing once or twice.

Push the meat out to the sides of the pan and add the ginger, shallots, and garlic to the middle of the pan. Cook for about 1 minute, and then toss well. Add the fish sauce, both kinds of sugar, the salt, pepper, and chili flakes and toss to mix everything well. Let the sauce come to a strong boil and begin to thicken, and then add the water. Adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer and then cook the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing now and then, When the sauce is a reddish brown syrup and the chicken is cooked, add the green onions and toss well. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or warm.

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Comments

  1. says

    sweet fancy moses, this appeals to me on every level. my sweet tooth, need for spice, and protein requirements would all be sated with one dish. :)

  2. says

    Wow, I can smell it from here. Adding that cookbook to my Amazon list – thanks for the tip and for posting the recipe for the chicken.

  3. says

    love the term lunch room envy. but better yet is when your wife (my wife) responds that it is leftovers from what her husband made last night. If she has to have that inconvenient job thing, at least she gets lunchroom envy 4 or 5 days a week.

  4. says

    I’m loving what you said about “lunchroom envy”. People who don’t cook just stare in awe!! Sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them what was for dinner;D I’ll have to check out this book. I love everything about this dish!

  5. Anonymous says

    It was certainly interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

  6. says

    Oooooh, yum! I must say, the title really didn’t do much for me. But then I read the ingredients and I was hooked! It has everything I love in it so now I’ll have to make it! IT almost sounds like a japanese bar-b-que recipe that I do. Pam, I must say, you make the best foods and you take the best food photo’s ever!

    Thanks Pam

  7. says

    I consider myself a bit of a cook! But I am one of those people who looked around blankly when you said caramel sauce! How do I get this in my belly? GREG

  8. says

    Ginger is by and large one of my favorite flavors. I love eating the pickled ginger en masse from sushi restaurants. And crystallized ginger is dangerous for me to have around.

    I think I would love this chicken. i mean just from the name alone, I was sure I would but after reading your post, I am SURE sure.

  9. says

    Delicious! Chicken, ginger and brown sugar…and chili flakes for a little dash of hot. Wow. I’m going to put that cookbook on my Christmas wish list.

  10. says

    I have imported this into my “try soon” file in BigOven. The ingredients are some of my favorites for thai cooking so I can’t wait to try this Vietnamese dish.

  11. says

    I made this tonight. I couldn’t get the sauce to a syrupy consistency or that deep brown caramel color, but the taste was fantastic. I served it over plain white rice and it sopped up the yummy sauce. I’ll have to make it again some time and figure out why the sauce didn’t look like yours, though. Great dish, Pam.