Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime Recipe

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This is my version of Milk Street Magazine’s Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime. This dish has spectacular flavor unlike anything I have ever had before. It is a time-consuming recipe but well worth it, especially if you do as I suggest and prep and then line up the ingredients in order of use.

Caramel-Braised chicken with Ginger and Lime (Vietnamese) adapted from Milk Street 2018

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup plus coconut water, divided
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced ( 1 cup)
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks ( 1/3 cup)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of most of fat, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems + 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 small jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and finely diced. Use more if you prefer more spice. OR 1 ½ tsp finely diced serrano pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest. I like to use a microplanner like this
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Steamed rice, to serve

  • Prepare each ingredient, place in bowls and line up in order of usage. Reduce heat to medium and cook, swirling pan but without stirring, until sauce is mahogany and smokes lightly, about 5- 7 minutes. Set over medium heat and stir to combine all ingredients. Stir in chicken. Raise heat to high to bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered over medium, stirring occasionally, adjusting heat to maintain simmer, 15 to 20 minutes. Off heat stir in 1/3 c. cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice and lime zest. Top with other 1/3 c. cilantro and serve with rice and lime wedges.
  • Increase heat to medium high and simmer vigorously until the sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Turn heat to high, add sliced shallots and ginger. Lower heat to low, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook 5 minutes.
  • Take pan off the heat and stir in fish sauce and ½ cup coconut water.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine 2 Tbsp. coconut water and ¼ c sugar. Boil, stirring until golden at edges, about 3 minutes.
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