This caramelised ginger chicken (ga kho gung) recipe is a classic Vietnamese home-style dish. The chicken is braised in a simple caramel that is infused with ginger, garlic and fish sauce. Easy and simple to make, this recipe is perfect for a quick mid-week dinner.
These chicken wings are a favourite in my family. This is because wings are so cheap and easy to prepare. Growing up, I remember mum would serve up this dish quite often with vegetables like fresh slices of cucumber or Vietnamese celery. I always used my hands eating this dish so that I could gnaw on the bones to get every last piece of goodness.
My mother’s side of the family are very well known for being masters of cleaning bones. The undisputed king would have to be my unlce Minh. He will devour all the meat off chicken soup bones until all that’s left is a pile of rubble that even CSI would have trouble recognising.
Whatever you eating habits are, these Vietnamese caramelised ginger chicken wings are definitely worth a try. It is absolutely heavenly when you let the sauce soak into the rice. A great meal for anyone looking for something quick, easy and most importantly… comforting.
What Cut of Chicken to Use
I use chicken wings for this recipe because they’re cheap and require very little prep. You can use any part of the chicken though, just remember to adjust the cooking time if using bigger pieces of meat.
Getting the Caramel Right
This step is actually the hardest part of this recipe. It may look really simple but it is so easy to burn your caramel. Here are a few tips to ensure you get it right the first time:
- Add the sugar when the fry pan is cold, then let it slowly come to temperature. It may take longer but 99% of the time it prevents the sugar from burning.
- Spread the sugar evenly in the middle of the pan so that it caramelises uniformly.
- Take the pan off the heat once the caramel starts foaming to slow down the cooking process. Have the chicken on hand and once it gets to a deep amber, throw the chicken in.
- If you accidentally burn the caramel, just start again. Don’t continue with it since burnt caramel is very bitter.
Caramelising & Colouring the Chicken Wings
The colour of the chicken really does matter in this recipe. This is because pale chicken makes it appear that the sauce has not penetrated the meat.
So, to get a good colour on the chicken, try the following tips:
- Cook the chicken for the same amount of time on each side. This will ensure each side has ample opportunity to colour.
- Your fry pan will need to be about 30 – 34 cm (12 – 14 in) so there is enough space for each chicken piece to have contact with the sauce.
- If the sauce is getting very thick, add a little bit of water to help cover the chicken in sauce while cooking. However, do not add too much otherwise it will dilute the sauce.
This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).
We haven’t included optional ingredients or small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.
|Recipe Needs||Recipe Cost|
|Garlic||1 bulb at $25/kg||$1.50||2 cloves||$0.30|
|Fish Sauce||300 ml bottle||$2.00||2 tbsp||$0.20|
|Chicken V |
|1 kg at $6.60$/kg||$6.60||1 kg||$6.60|
|Ginger||120 gm at $25/kg||$3.00||30 gm||$0.75|
|White Sugar||2kg pack||$1.80||3 tbsp (60 gm)||$0.05|
|1 bunch||$2.00||1 stalk||$0.10|
Other Similar Rice Dishes You Might Like
- Simple Pork Mince
- Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad (a family favourite!)
- Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken
- Vegan Tofu Mince
- Thai Green Chicken Curry
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Vietnamese Caramelised Ginger Chicken
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 tbsp white sugar (for the caramel)
- 1 kg chicken wingettes / drumettes or your choice
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white sugar (for the sauce)
- 30 gm ginger, cut into matchsticks
- pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp chicken powder (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 onion, cut into wedges and separated
- 2 spring onion stalks, roughly chopped
- Jasmine Rice
- cucumber, sliced (optional)
- cherry tomatoes (optional)
In a cold fry pan, add the oil and the sugar. Turn the heat up to medium high and allow the sugar to slowly caramelise.
Once the sugar has started to form bubbles and is amber in colour, take off the heat and allow it to go a little further without burning. Then add the chicken and move it around the pan. Allow the caramel to stain the chicken for about 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the chicken bouillon or stock powder (if using) with 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir the mixture into the fry pan with the garlic, ginger, salt, sugar and pepper.
Turn down the heat to medium and put the lid on the fry pan with about 3 cm (1 in) gap for the steam to escape. Cook for 6 minutes.
After 6 minutes, flip the chicken to colour the other side. Cook for a further 6 minutes partially covered.
Check if the chicken is cooked. If yes, add the fish sauce and onion wedges. Cook for a further 2 minutes to take the edge off the onions. If no, cook the chicken until done then add the fish sauce and onions.
Check the seasoning of your sauce and adjust according to your taste. (Note 1)
Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve with white jasmine rice.
- If the chicken is lacking in after taste, then add a little more sugar. If the chicken needs more flavour/saltiness then add more fish sauce.