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Equal parts salty, sweet, smoky, and bitter
Milk Street Bowtie Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime

Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime

45 minutes

Free

Vietnamese caramel chicken is a dish with multiple layers of flavors: salty, sweet, smoky, bitter and meaty. For our take, we used coconut water as the cooking liquid; it added a subtle salty-sweet richness that brought even more complexity to the dish. The generous amount of ginger, cut into matchsticks, mellows and softens as it cooks, and it adds a brightness that perks up the deeper flavors.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut water, divided
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (½ cup)
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch matchsticks (⅓ cup)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch chunks
1/4  cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 small jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
Steamed rice, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • ½

    cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut water, divided

  • ¼

    cup white sugar

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2

    medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (½ cup)

  • 1

    2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch matchsticks (⅓ cup)

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch chunks

  • ¼

     cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1

    small jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

  • 1

    tablespoon grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • Steamed rice, to serve

  • Lime wedges, to serve

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Mains

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Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

45 minutes

Tip

Don’t get distracted once you begin cooking the caramel. Have the fish sauce measured out and at hand so that when the caramel turns mahogany in color, it can be added immediately to stop the cooking.

Ingredients
  • ½

    cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut water, divided

  • ¼

    cup white sugar

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2

    medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (½ cup)

  • 1

    2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch matchsticks (⅓ cup)

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch chunks

  • ¼

     cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1

    small jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

  • 1

    tablespoon grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • Steamed rice, to serve

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Step 1 of 4

Prepare the caramel

1
tablespoon coconut water
¼
cup white sugar

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, combine the 1 tablespoon coconut water and the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns golden at the edges, about 3 minutes.


Reduce to medium and continue to cook, swirling the pan but without stirring, until the caramel is mahogany in color and smokes lightly, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 2 of 4

Add the fish sauce and cook

3
tablespoons fish sauce
½
cup coconut water
2
medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (½ cup)
1
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch matchsticks (⅓ cup)

Off heat, add the fish sauce and stir; the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously. Set the pan over medium, pour in the remaining ½ cup coconut water and stir until fully incorporated.


Add the shallots and ginger and bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Add the chicken

2
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch chunks

Stir in the chicken. Cover and cook over medium, stirring once or twice, until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a steady simmer.


Uncover, increase to medium-high and simmer vigorously (the sauce will form large bubbles), stirring occasionally, until the chicken is glazed and the sauce is syrupy, about 8 minutes. 

Step 4 of 4

Stir and serve

¼
 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1
small jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
1
tablespoon grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
Steamed rice, to serve
1
tablespoon grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice

Off heat, stir in half of the cilantro, the jalapeño, lime zest and lime juice. Top with the remaining cilantro and serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.

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Done!

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