Poultry & Pork · Uncategorized

Finally Giving It a Try

Always on a mission to step outside of the box, here’s a a recipe from uncharted waters–Vietnamese cuisine. Can you believe we’ve never made one Vietnamese dish? When it comes to cooking, we both have our own personal missions and goals, and one of them is to try new recipes from all across the globe. About a month ago, we spent an afternoon noshing on a full array of Vietnamese food cooked by Hong and Kim of Ravenous Couple. When Hong heard we had never eaten Vietnamese before (not even the well known banh mi), he graciously extended an invite. They stuffed us to the gills with a myriad of foods that tickled the tongue with flavors. It was time to add Vietnamese food to the list of must-eats. As easy as it is to find a Vietnamese restaurant in this town, it’s more fun to try it at home.

This recipe could not be any easier, and if you are looking for a different way to cook chicken, this is one for you. Yes, there is a lot of sugar, but once the velvety, shiny sauce cooks down, the flavor is very complex with hits of spice and tang. Do not let the fish sauce deter you. There are a number of good brands on the market, and you can find them at your local Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Japanese markets. It can range in levels of saltiness, aroma and also color–from clear and light brown to murky gray. Find which one works best for you, and you’ll see that it can work in stir fries, salads, burgers, ribs and more. Consider this the start of Vietnamese recipe testing!

Ga Kho (Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken) – Serves 6 to 8 (Adapted from both Ravenous Couple and Cookin’ Canuck)
4 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
4 chicken legs, with skin
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Thai chilis, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce*
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Canola oil

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 tablespoon brown sugar, black pepper and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Add the chicken, toss to coat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Mix the onions, ginger, garlic, half the scallions and Thai chilis in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Once ready, pour both the sugars into a medium skillet over medium high heat and cook until they both begin to mix and melt, approximately 3-5 minutes. Pour 1/3 cup of water, the fish sauce and rice vinegar, along with the onions, ginger, garlic and Thai chilis. Cook another 5-7 minutes or until the sauce just begins to reduce, then remove from heat.

3. In a separate, larger skillet, heat a swirl of canola oil with the 1/2 teaspoon sugar over medium high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and sear on both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side, making sure the skin has sufficiently browned.

4. Pour half of the sauce in with the chicken and cook until it reduces by half. Turn the chicken over and add the remaining sauce. Cover and cook another 20-25 minutes or until done, basting the chicken occasionally and turning as necessary.

5. Garnish the chicken with the remaining scallions once done.

*There wasn’t enough fish sauce in the house, so there is a significant decrease in the suggested amount for the caramel sauce. The chicken was marinated with soy sauce for this reason as well. If you’re going 100% traditional, use all fish sauce for pure authenticity.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


31 thoughts on “Finally Giving It a Try

  1. Woohoo, what a way to first try a cuisine, by the hands of experts. You’ll start off at such a high level of expectation that mere restaurant food won’t do. However if the Ravenous Couple offers up such wonder recipes as this caramel chicken, which I adore you’ll be set for life.

  2. I have never made Vietnamese food either; however, I used to have a roomate from Viet Nam. She taught me to spice up everything with chili sauce. When we went out, she did the ordering, but I can’t remember it. This looks easy, yet complex and delicious and it’s time to cook Vietnamese.

  3. I just printed this. It sounds out of this world, good. I love all the ingredients. I hope I get to make this, this week. I have this feeling, I will love it. So will the hubby.

  4. We’ve never cooked Vietnamese either. Crazy huh? This meal looks delicious, maybe one day we’ll be brave enough to give it a try πŸ™‚

  5. I haven’t eaten much Vietnamese food. There just aren’t that many restaurants in my neck of the woods, so I always find new recipes like this fascinating. This looks like it has great flavors and isn’t too complicated after a tough day at work.

    I know I haven’t dropped by much in the past week or so, but I enjoyed catching up withthe posts right now. I feel as if I’ve just circledthe world!

  6. Hong and Kim are great! I’m definitely adding this dish to the recipe queue. I’ve actually never had banh mi before either! Well, other than a sample of a meatball banh mi at Starry Kitchen!

  7. Vietnamese cooking is so much fun to do at home. I am glad that you have decided to give it a try! This dish looks great. I remember seeing the recipe at Cookin’Canuck and wanted to try it, so thanks for reminding me!

  8. That looks and sounds incredibly delicious. You can just see the flavor sticking to it! Great post you two!

    I just made a Vietnamese dish this weekend too but haven’t posted it yet, basil wrapped beef rolls (not the Vietnamese name, lol).

  9. Caramelized chicken?! How funny is it w/ ALL the different recipes for chicken I’ve never thought of caramelizing it. Yum y’all!

  10. That chicken looks finger lickin’ good – I know wrong saying for Vietnamese, but I would so be licking my fingers with this. Ah, fish sauce – so stinky, but it is so tasty!

  11. I’ve made something similar to this with tofu before. And yeah, it basically blew my mind. I’m so glad you ventured into Vietnamese food! I’ve never had banh mi (need to fix that!) but I do love a good pho. This looks absolutely fantastic. I’m going to have to try this sauce because it seems way more authentic than the one I used.

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