Taste of Asia: Vietnamese-Style Caramel Braised Chicken

This winter we’re celebrating the bright, flavorful cuisine of Asia. Each week we’ll share some of our favorite Asian recipes, from curries to stir fries.

Stock up on these Asian pantry staples: rice, soy sauce, curry paste, sesame oil, fish sauce, rice vinegar, red chili flakes, and sesame seeds. And then get ready to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure to the Far East!

This week’s featured recipe:

Thit Ga Kno Gung: Vietnamese-Style Caramel Braised Chicken

The five principal elements of Vietnamese cuisine are: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and spicy. And this flavorful recipe is just that—sweet, sticky, and savory with a touch of heat. Serve it with jasmine rice and stir-fried cabbage or baby boy choy for a healthy Vietnamese feast.


  • 1½ lb boneless chicken thighs, cut in quarters
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot or onion
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths and slivered


In a large deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Push meat to the sides of the pan and add the ginger, shallots and garlic. Cook for about a minute, then add the fish sauce, sugars, salt & pepper and chili flakes and toss everything together. Let the juices come to a boil and start to thicken, then add water. Adjust the heat to keep the sauce simmering and continue to cook the chicken for 10 -15 minutes longer, tossing the ingredients occasionally. When the sauce is a deep reddish-brown syrup and the chicken is cooked through, add the scallions and toss well. Serve hot or warm.

From “Quick and Easy Vietnamese” by Nancie McDermott

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