Vietnamese Caramelized Ginger Chicken
2 lb skinless chicken thighs, cut into large 2″ pieces
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 Thai chili, deseeded, finely minced (or chili of your choice)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar , tightly packed
1/4 cup ginger, finely julienned (about 2″ thick piece
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, halved then finely sliced
1/2 cup boiling water
Toss chicken with fish sauce and chilli, then set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. You could marinate even overnight but it's not necessary.
Pan size – Use a large non-stick pan (mine is 30cm/12", must be large). Else, be prepared to remove chicken at end to speed up sauce reduction. See Note 4!
Caramel – Mix oil and sugar in the cold pan, then turn onto medium high heat. As soon as the sugar is melted, remove the pan from the stove then carefully add the chicken (⚠️ it will sizzle so don't throw it in!) . Add ginger and shallots, toss briefly. The caramel may harden, that's ok, it will re-melt.
Cook outside of chicken – Then put the pan back on the stove and stir just until the chicken changes from pink to white all over, but not browned, and definitely not cooked through.
Simmer 10 min – Add water, stir, bring to a simmer. Simmer very rapidly, still on medium high (or even high!), for 10 to 12 minutes, until the liquid reduces right down to a glaze. It might take longer if your pan is smaller or your stove is weaker, that's ok. Stir every now and then while watery, then once it's reduced down to a glaze, toss regularly to get nice colour on the chicken. The further you take it, the better the colour!
Serve with jasmine rice or other plain rice garnished with extra slices of chili and fresh coriander if desired.