Caramelized chicken – ga kho is such a simple yet delicious recipe that you’ll want to keep as your quick go to dish for an easy but delicious dinner. Mom used to make this dish with a lot of ginger and caramelize the chicken in much the same way as our ca kho to (fish in clay pot), but there’s more then one way to skin….er, caramelize a chicken so to speak. Chef John from Food Wishes has a super easy method of combining fish sauce, sugar, water, and vinegar into a one step caramelization process without making your own caramel sauce or using store bought caramel. His recipe results in a familiar caramelized sauce that is sweet, savory, and gooey delicious. It’s so simple and we’ve made several times, never getting tired of it.
- 2.5 lbs chicken thigh/leg (skinless, either bone in or deboned. We prefer bone in because we like to knaw on bone and keeping the peices of chicken on the larger side, we think it’s juicier that way–Don’t use breast as it gets really dry)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 cloves of crushed garlic
- 2 tbs chopped ginger (you can also substitute with finely minced lemongrass)
- 2 shallots minced
- 2 tbs fish sauce for marinade
- 1 tbs brown sugar for marinade
- 2 jalepenos or 1 thai chili (optional) thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced about 1/2 inch
- fresh cracked pepper
- roasted sesame (optional)
- 2 tbs cooking oil
Marinade the chicken with 2 tbs of fish sauce and 1 tbs brown sugar for about 1/2 hr. In the meantime in a small bowl make the sauce by combining 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup water, rice vinegar, and fish sauce and mix until dissolve. Add the ginger, shallots, and garlic and set aside.
Heat a large pan on high with cooking oil and add the chicken with the flat surface of thigh facing down. Allow to sear without touching them for a minute or so and then pour in about 1/4 of the sauce. Try not to move around the chicken as you want the chicken to sear and caramelize. The sauce will start to thicken and the chicken will brown after a few minutes. Check to see if it’s nicely caramelized, then turn the pieces of chicken over and pour in the rest of the sauce. Continue to cook until sauce is reduced to nice thick consistency and just as you turn off the heat, toss in the chiles and green onions. Transfer to serving platter and generously top with roasted sesame and fresh cracked pepper.