Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

 vietnamese-caramel-chickenThis Vietnamese Caramel Chicken takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and is a party stealer always. This holds a special place in my foodie heart. Being the vegetarian trying to learn cooking chicken and other meats, iam on a lookout for easy recipes, which don’t involve too much of technicalities. And this chicken is one such quick to make and oh so delicious, as a quick nibble, or a salad add on, or a meal in itself, so versatile and oh so delicious, oh did i say that again :D. 

I bumped into this chicken recipe at RasaMalaysia when i wanted to use fish sauce in my chicken. There were so many times i saw participants on masterchef australia using fish sauce in asian chicken preparations that i was really intrigued by the simplicity of this recipe to try it immediately. 

This recipe takes only 2 main ingredients, fish sauce, and sugar, i have made variations fitting out indian kitchen and always had equally good results. Fish Sauce made of anchovies and ginger, is an essential ingredient in vietnamese and asian cuisine, and as Bee from RasaMalaysia puts it, its the bomb that defines umami! Brilliant way to acheive caramelization and that sweet and tangy sauce on the chicken over the stovetop in minutes, what more do we want. 

Please try this recipe, invest in a good fish sauce, and this will become a regular in your family food. 

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar / regular sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Ingredients for chicken

  • 4-5 chicken leg pieces
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, cut into think slices
  • 1 inch ginger cube cut into thin juliennes
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
  • Oil for frying

Ingredients for Caramel Sauce

  • 2 tbsp fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Prepare the marinade and rub it on the chicken pieces, and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the caramel sauce, mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 
  3. Cut the ginger, garlic, and green chillies as instructed.
  4. Take some oil, in a non stick pan, and add the chicken peices into it. 
  5. Let it cook till its almost done, and caramelized on all sides, keep stirring in between. 
  6. Now add the remaining liquid and also the caramel sauce mixture prepared, and let it almost dry.
  7. Add the green chillies, ginger and garlic towards the end. 
  8. Serve warm with some green scallions or just like that. 


  • The recipe works well with both brown sugar and regular granulated sugar, the color will be richer with brown sugar, but otherwise its alright.
  • You can substitute apple cider vinegar with plain vinegar, you just need to half the quantity. 
  • You can substitute the green chillies with jalepenos, if you have them handy. 
  • If time permits you can add some finely chopped onions before frying the chicken. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email