Chicken in Caramel Sauce

Chicken in Caramel Sauce

Chicken in Caramel Sauce

Ever since our China dinner party, my tastebuds have been obsessed with Asian cuisine in general.  The office is ridiculously close to some of the best dim sum San Francisco has to offer on Clement Street and that’s been breakfast more than once over the past week.

One of the great things about spending time with Mike Rogers is our conversations about food.  A few weeks ago he happened to have brought his lunch which was this chicken in caramel sauce.  It went immediately on the list.  The recipe came from the Chronicle.  It’s a product of Charles Phan’s inspiration from street stands in Vietnam.  I feel a Phan restaurant crawl coming on.  I’ve never actually been able to get into the Slanted Door.  Usually by the time I discover I’m hungry at the ferry building, it’s a situation that needs more immediate attention than a torturously long wait downwind from glass noodles with crab will allow.  But I digress.

The recipe calls for Thai chiles which were nowhere to be found at Safeway so I used red jalapeños instead.  They worked really well.  So well, in fact, that I think I’ll add a third one the next time I make this dish.  As it turned out, we had some neglected baby portobello mushrooms in the fridge so I added them as well.  We used brown rice instead of white rice, which we always do — we just like it better.  It’s a great quantity for two, because you’ll have plenty for lunch the next day and it’s even tastier then.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dark or regular soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon slivered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 small Thai chiles (fresh or dried), broken in half
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless dark-meat chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless white-meat chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Steamed white rice
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Combine the brown sugar, water, fish sauce, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, pepper and chiles in a small bowl. Mix well.
  2. Set the sauce mixture aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the shallot and saute until brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken to the pan and saute until it is slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the sauce mixture and bring it to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce has reduced by half, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

Note: Fish sauce is available in Asian markets and upscale supermarkets (and Safeway).

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