This caramel chicken dish reminds me so much of Filipino chicken adobo. Both used soy sauce and vinegar but caramel chicken is much, much sweeter! At first I was put off by how much sugar you have to add, but in the end the flavors balanced well with soy sauce and vinegar. The recipe calls for garlic cloves and slices of peeled ginger to add flavors, but don’t forget to take them out before serving! Especially when you have a sensitive husband who hates garlic.
I found this recipe on Bon Appetit and I was doing a bit of research about this dish, leading me to Vietnamese caramelized chicken or Ga Kho, which uses fish sauce as part of the caramelization process. Vietnamese food seduced me again!
The sauce is amazing! Just enough to coat the chicken and don’t forget to add some on your rice. I used chicken drumsticks but you can also use chicken thighs or breast. I had to eat with my hands on this one! Boy I miss kamayan (meaning “with hands” ) meals with my family.
- 2½ lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs or drumsticks
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled**
- 1/2 cup water
- ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 slices ¼"-thick slices peeled ginger**
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Cooked white or brown rice (for serving)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Then cook, in two batches, until golden brown and crisp, about 6-8 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
- Add garlic to pot and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to plate with the chicken.
- Pour off as much fat from pot.
- Return pot over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup water, scraping browned bits on pot. Add brown sugar; stir to dissolve and cook until mixture thickens and turns into a deep amber color, about 4 minutes.
- Carefully add vinegar (it may bubble up; sugar will crystallize); stir to dissolve sugar.
- Add ginger, broth and soy sauce to pot. Then add the chicken and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, about 15- 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot; turn to coat. Top with scallions and serve with rice.
- **The garlic and ginger in the recipe are meant to add flavors. Remove them before serving.