Caramelized ginger chicken is one of the first Vietnamese dishes I fell in love with. Its spicy, salty, sweet flavours are positively addictive! This is a comforting weeknight meal the whole family is sure to love.
When my husband and I were first dating, he introduced me to the joys of Vietnamese cuisine. Growing up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, which was home to many Vietnamese people, my husband had practically grown up on Vietnamese food.
However, for me, this elegant cuisine was new and exotic. I had no idea what to expect! I remember quizzing him endlessly about what Vietnamese food was and how it tasted — trying to determine whether or not I was up to the challenge.
So, it was with mild trepidation that I shared a first Vietnamese meal with him, only to be surprised and delighted by the array of vibrant flavours on the table. One of the dishes he wisely selected was a version of this delicious caramelised ginger chicken.
This dish is every bit as addictive (and finger-licking good) as barbecue chicken. The fish sauce gives it an umami richness, which beautifully complements the peppery bite of the chilis and ginger. Finally, the caramelised sugar pulls it all together, melding the flavours into harmony.
About the Recipe
Vietnamese caramelised ginger chicken has become one of our family’s favorite meals. It is relatively easy to make at home, and the ingredients are easy to find. But, the traditional version takes a bit of attention at the stove for a good long braise.
So, when I started using the Instant Pot®, I knew I needed to adapt this recipe as soon as possible. Now that I’ve done it, I can assure you that caramelised ginger chicken will be on our table a lot more often!
The only trick is not to get scared by the blackened residue in the bottom of the pot during the first stage of cooking. It can be scary to see the sugar scorching and charring in the pot. You may think you are burning the sauce. Trust me, though, this is all part of the process and it is an important part of building up the final flavour of the dish. So, push through it the first time and hold your breath. Trust me, as long as you’re not generating clouds of acrid black smoke, everything will be okay. Remember, most of the marinade never blackens, it’s only the sugar!
Other than that, this recipe is super easy and quick enough for a comforting and hearty weeknight meal. I hope your family loves this dish every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!
Easy Instant Pot™ Vietnamese Caramelised Ginger Chicken
This zippy Vietnamese caramelised ginger chicken is positively addictive. It hits all the right flavour notes -- spicy, salty, mildly sweet -- and is easy enough to prepare on a busy weeknight. This dish cannot help but become a family favorite!
- For the marinade
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
- 4 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
- 2-4 Thai red chillies, minced (or, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 chicken thighs (approximately 1 kg)
- For the sauce
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced into petals
- To garnish</strong
- 1 spring onion finely shredded (or sliced, if preferred)
- 10 sprigs fresh coriander, minced
- Step 1 Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and toss to thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. (Better yet, do this quick prep work the night before.)
- Step 2 Set the Instant Pot® to [sauté]. When the screen displays the word “Hot”, add the oil. Then add four chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook until golden brown. Then, turn to sear and seal the other side. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and repeat the process with the last four thighs. Then, remove them to the plate, reserving the marinade for later.
- Step 3 Add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar to the Instant Pot® and stir continuously until the sugar begins to melt. There will be quite a bit of charred black sugar in the bottom of the pot. This is normal.
- Step 4 Add the chicken stock to the Instant Pot®, along with the reserved marinade. Continue stirring until the bottom of the pot is deglazed. Then press [cancel] to end the sauté function.
- Step 5 Add the chicken pieces and the onion petals to the pot. Cover and lock the lid. Then select [Poultry] until you see “Less” on the temperature panel and leave to cook.
- Step 6 Once cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release gradually. (This will take about 20 minutes)
- Step 7 Place chicken and sauce in a serving dish. Garnish with fresh coriander and spring onions. Serve with jasmine rice.