Caramelized Chicken (Ga Kho)

Caramelized Chicken (ga Kho)

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Vickie Parks


This dish is really simple to prepare, yet it's a really delicious and comforting dish. It's quite similar to Caramel Chicken, an all-time favorite dish at the Slanted Door, a popular Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant's popularity can't be denied because it's always packed with locals and tourists, and it's been known to attract a good number of celebrities, too. In fact, Caramel Chicken is said to be Mick Jagger's favorite dish when he's in San Francisco. I'll leave it to you to decide if that's true.

It's usually served with cooked Jasmine rice.


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30 Min
40 Min



  • 2 Tbsp
    fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp
    brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 lb
    boneless chicken thighs or legs (chicken breasts not recommended as they can dry out too much)

  • 3/4 c
    brown sugar
  • 1/3 c
  • 1/3 c
    rice vinegar
  • 1/8 c
    fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp
    chopped ginger (or finely minced lemongrass)
  • 4 clove
    garlic, crushed
  • 2
    shallots, minced

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp
    cooking oil
  • 2
    jalapeños or 1 thai chili, thinly sliced
  • 2
    green onions, sliced about 1/2 inch
  • 1 tsp
    black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp
    cooking oil

  • ·
    chopped fresh cilantro
  • ·
    toasted sesame seeds

How to Make Caramelized Chicken (Ga Kho)


  1. For the marinade, mix together the fish sauce and brown sugar, add chicken and let marinate for about 1 hour, rotating chicken pieces about halfway through (for even marinating).
  2. In the meantime, in a small bowl make the sauce by combining brown sugar, water, rice vinegar, fish sauce and stir until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Stir in the ginger, garlic and shallots; set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken (discard marinade) and sear for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and let chicken cook 20 minutes, turning chicken often for even browning. Then add 1/4 of the sauce to skillet and turn chicken to coat with sauce. The sauce will thicken and the chicken will begin to caramelize after a few minutes. Pour the rest of the sauce into the skillet and continue to cook until sauce is a thick consistency and chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 5 or 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Add chiles and green onions and let cook a minute, or just enough to heat the chilies.
  4. Transfer chicken and caramelized sauce to a serving platter. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and cilantro on top, if desired. Serve immediately.

Printable Recipe Card

About Caramelized Chicken (Ga Kho)

Course/Dish: Chicken
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: Vietnamese
Dietary Needs: Low Carb

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