Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken is an amazingly simple recipe to follow giving a delicious dinner option. Served on a bed of rice with steamed vegetables, this recipe is savory with a deliciously tender chicken. Allowing the sliced chicken to rest in water with baking soda allows the fibers of the chicken to break down which helps promote juicy and tender chicken.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken on rice and steamed vegetables on white plate

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Published May 10, 2022
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Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Recipe on pages 486-487.

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Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

1 Tbsp baking soda
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken,
7 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

all the ingredients on the countertop for Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

Directions

1. On a cutting board, trim any fat off the chicken and then slice the chicken across the grain into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.

chicken cut into pieces on a yellow cutting board

2. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/4 water and 1 Tbsp baking soda, add the chicken to the bowl and then toss. Let the chicken stand at room temperature in the water mixture for 15 minutes, doing so makes the chicken so tender and helps to maintain the juiciness without drying the chicken out.

3. Rinse the chicken in a sink colander and then let it rest to drain well.

rinsed and drained chicken in sink colander

4. In a medium saucepan, combine 3 Tbsp water and sugar and whisk, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook without stirring for 4-6 minutes, it should become a golden brown color close to molasses.

5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, swirling the saucepan gently, until the sugar turns the color of molasses and the temperature reaches 390-400 degrees Fahrenheit using a candy thermometer.

boiling caramel sauce with candy thermometer

6. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour in 3/4 cup hot water being careful because the mixture will steam and bubble, once the bubbling stops, return the saucepan to the burner at medium-high heat and continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved.

7. Transfer the caramel sauce to a 12-inch skillet and then stir in the fish sauce and ginger. I used a ginger that was already a paste as we do not use it often enough to buy it fresh. Buying ginger paste is a good option for recipes when you need the choice of having ginger.

8. Add the rinsed chicken to the caramel sauce and simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan and simmer the chicken in the caramel sauce until the chicken temps at 205 degrees.

9. Flip the chicken after simmering for 15 minutes, then simmer another 15-20 minutes making sure it is fully cooked.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken simmering in large saucepan

10. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and then cover to keep warm.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken cooked in large saucepan

11. Bring the sauce in the saucepan back to a boil and cook until it reduces to 1 1/4 cups which should take 3-5 minutes.

12. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl, then whisk it into the caramel sauce and simmer until thickened, around 1 minute.

13. Stir in pepper and then using a whisk mix well into the caramel sauce.

sauce for Vietnamese Caramel Chicken adding pepper

14. Pour 1/4 cup sauce over the chicken and then sprinkle with cilantro if using. Finally, serve with remaining sauce and enjoy!
~Monica

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken cooked in large saucepan

Recipe for Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

Ingredients for Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

1 Tbsp baking soda
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken,
7 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Directions for Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

1. On a cutting board, trim any fat off the chicken and then slice the chicken across the grain into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/4 water and 1 Tbsp baking soda, add the chicken to the bowl and then toss, let the chicken stand at room temperature in the water mixture for 15 minutes.
3. Rinse the chicken in a sink colander and then let it rest to drain well.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine 3 Tbsp water and sugar and whisk, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook without stirring for 4-6 minutes. It should become a golden brown color.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, swirling the saucepan gently, until the sugar turns the color of molasses and the temperature reaches 390-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour in 3/4 cup hot water being careful because the mixture will steam and bubble, once the bubbling stops, return the saucepan to the burner at medium-high heat and continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved.
7. Transfer the caramel to a 12-inch skillet and then stir in the fish sauce and ginger.
8. Add the rinsed chicken to the caramel sauce and simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan and simmer the chicken in the caramel sauce until the chicken temps at 205 degrees.
9. Flip the chicken after simmering for 15 minutes, then simmer another 15-20 minutes.
10. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and then cover to keep warm.
11. Bring the sauce in the saucepan back to a boil and cook until it reduces to 1 1/4 cups which should take 3-5 minutes.
12. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl, then whisk it into the caramel sauce and simmer until thickened.
13. Stir in pepper and mix well.
14. Pour 1/4 cup sauce over the chicken and then sprinkle with cilantro if using. Finally, serve with remaining sauce and enjoy!
~Monica

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken on rice and steamed vegetables on white plate

Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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