Caramel Ginger Chicken
This caramel ginger chicken is courtesy of Chef Bobby Chinn and can be found in his cookbook, "Wild Wild East."
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons Vietnamese fish sauce, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Thai bird's-eye chiles
- 1 (3-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 3 cups hot chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 small cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (optional)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 scallions, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
- 5 sprigs fresh cilantro
- Steamed rice, for serving
In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, shallot, garlic, and black pepper. Finely chop 1 chile and add to bowl. Finely chop 2 inches of the piece of ginger and squeeze the juices into the bowl, reserving chopped ginger. Cut the remaining 1-inch ginger into 1-by-1/4-inch pieces; set aside.
Add chicken to sugar mixture and toss until well combined. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, for one hour.
In a medium skillet with high sides, heat brown sugar over medium heat and cook until melted, taking care not to burn the edges. When the sugar has melted, increase heat and stir until sugar is evenly browned. Remove skillet from heat and very carefully add remaining 4 teaspoons fish sauce. Add 2 cups chicken stock. Cut remaining chile in half lengthwise and add to skillet along with lime juice.
Return skillet to medium heat. If sugar has crystallized, cook until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat and stir in reserved chopped ginger, along with cinnamon and peppercorns, if desired; set caramel sauce aside.
In a large wok or skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. Add marinated chicken and cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes.
Transfer chicken to skillet with caramel sauce. Add remaining 1 cup of chicken stock to wok to deglaze, and pour liquid over chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook chicken until cooked through and liquid has been reduced by half.
Garnish chicken with reserved ginger pieces, scallions, and cilantro. Serve immediately with rice.