Being a military wife comes with certain…perks..haha I guess you could call them. It’s hard having the Mr. away for months at a time, but it’s nice to have my alone time, and we both find that it keeps the relationship fresh. Basically, we rarely get sick of each other and when we start to fight, it’s usually time for another sail! The part that I find hard when he comes home though, is figuring out what to make for dinner every night. My father in law visited us recently from Vancouver, and it was nice to have a piece of home here with us for a little while; but having two hungry men at home put a bit more pressure on me in the kitchen. I decided to pull out my signature dish (as my husband calls it), Vietnamese Caramel Ginger Chicken; this dish is absolutely Ah-May-Zing! I got it from a blog years ago but can’t seem to track down the link, if anyone can help identify the original source that would be awesome! The recipe doesn’t call for any veggies to be added, and I’ve found that when I do, I don’t have a lot of sauce to coat my rice or noodles that I serve up with the dish; so, what I do is sauté them separately and then add them to the noodles/rice and pour the chicken and sauce over top, or just roast them seperately and serve them on the side. I have used shiitake mushrooms in the chicken (for the last 5 minutes of cooking) and it tastes fantastic. This time, I served it up with roasted market fresh purple carrots and brussel sprouts, yum!
Vietnamese Caramel Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, and cut into matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 lb. bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed, generously seasoned with kosher salt
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat and add sugar. Cook until the sugar starts to melt and turn brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the caramel is bubbling and turns reddish-brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, very carefully, pour in water. Please be sure to turn your face aside while you do this so you do not get splattered. If the caramel hardens, set the pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the caramel dissolves, then pour it into a heat-proof measuring cup or bowl.
With hot water (so the leftover caramel bits don’t seize up on the bottom of the pan), clean and dry the pan. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and heat canola oil in the skillet. Add onion and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Add sliced garlic and cook for an additional minute. With a slotted spoon, remove the onion, ginger, and garlic from the oil and reserve in a bowl.
To the skillet, add chicken thighs. Cook until the chicken no longer looks raw on the outside, about 2 minutes per side. Yes, the pan will be crowded! Add the reserved caramel sauce, fish sauce, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper, and chili flakes. Mix to coat the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook (the mixture will be simmering briskly) until the chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken every 2 to 3 minutes, about 20 minutes. Stir in the reserved onions, ginger, and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 additional minutes. Serve over chow mein noodles or rice. Enjoy!