Vietnamese-Style Caramel Chicken with Broccoli
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WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
Traditional Vietnamese-style caramel chicken promises a dish that balances a bittersweet caramel with salty and spicy flavors, but most recipes miss the mark. Cooking the caramel until it was a deep, dark color was key to achieving the righ... Read More
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
The saltiness of fish sauce can vary; we recommend Red Boat. When taking the temperature of the caramel in step 2, tilt the pan and move the thermometer back and forth to equalize hot and cool spots; also make sure to have hot water at the ready. This dish is intensely seasoned, so serve it with plenty of steamed white rice.
Combine baking soda and 1 1/4 cups cold water in large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and 3 tablespoons water in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to turn golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, gently swirling saucepan, until sugar turns color of molasses and registers between 390 and 400 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes longer. (Caramel will produce some smoke during last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking.) Immediately remove saucepan from heat and carefully pour in 3/4 cup hot water (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously). When bubbling has subsided, return saucepan to medium heat and stir to dissolve caramel.
Transfer caramel to 12-inch skillet and stir in fish sauce and ginger. Add chicken and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until chicken is fork-tender and registers 205 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through simmering. Transfer chicken to serving dish and cover to keep warm.
Bring 1 inch water to boil in Dutch oven. Lower insert or steamer basket with broccoli into pot so it rests above water; cover and simmer until broccoli is just tender, 4 1/2 to 5 minutes. Transfer broccoli to serving dish with chicken.
While broccoli cooks, bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water together in small bowl, then whisk into sauce; simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in pepper. Pour 1/4 cup sauce over chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.