Friday, April 13, 2007

The Slanted Door’s Caramel Chicken

A loyal viewer of this blog informed me that this recipe still had not been converted from my old blog. This was one of the first clips I ever filmed and posted on YouTube, and probably the recipe I’ve received the most email regarding. People LOVE this dish, and while you may have to go out and hunt down some Asian Fish Sauce, it will be well worth the trouble. By the way, there is also a Basmati Rice demo posted in case you need a little help in that department.

The Slanted Door is a very popular Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco. It’s always packed with locals, tourists and visiting celebrities. One of the most popular dishes there is called “Caramel Chicken.” This stunning dish is an amazing combination of sweet, spicy, and salty flavors all sticking to succulent pieces of chicken. My version adds peanuts for a little crunch, and I’ve simplified the technique so you can easily make this at home, right on the stove top. Their version is cooked in a clay pot, which most of us don’t have lying around.

By the way, it’s been reported that this is Mick Jagger’s favorite dish when visiting San Francisco. Mick once asked, “Brown sugar, how come you taste soooo good?” So it’s fitting that’s what we’ll use to caramelize the chicken as you’ll see in the video. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2.5 pounds chicken thighs (boneless, skinless, about 8-10 thighs)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbl grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
1 bunch green onions
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
fresh cilantro to garnish

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I've been to the slanted door and I cant wait to try this.
btw, they sell fish sauce at Safeway.

Martha said...

Can I use thighs with the bone in it?

Chef John said...

You could, but will have to cook it longer and you'd have to becarful not to over reduce the sauce. Also, whats nice about the smaller boneless pieces of thigh is you get more caramelization which is whats so great about this dish.

QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E© said...

It’s been reported that this is Mick Jagger’s favorite dish when visiting San Francisco?? WHO SAYS? Mick once asked a Baltimore Sun Reporter, “Brown sugar,?? ...is that what I get in Baltimore at Bruce Lee's Sweet&Salty Brown Sauce Wings" - It almost tastes as good Pat Boone's "Hound Dog Hash in Saffron crème fraîche in Nashville, but not as good as 100K - NYC Taxi Motor Oil @ WD~50, D.C.'s Thimble Mini Bar's Candied Walnut fricassé w/Cashews in Espuma or el Bulli'z "MANLY-MAN MEAT & POTATOES with FOAMIN'HOT GRAVY in Chef Andres' Famous Peanut Foam Gilee"

-- LOL --
do baseball players eat
...mmmmmm...mmmmmmm good food any more?

QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©
by Wilbur M. Reeling
epicurean raconteur
http://QuintessentialCuisine.Blogspot.com/
www.WilburMReeling.com

Chef John said...

I really enjoyed your comment, even though I didn't understand a single thing in it. Are you sipping the vanilla extract again??

Ken said...

Wow, is this good!!

The first time I made it, the meat was a bit dry (but still tasty). So I changed the technique slightly to remove the meat for part of the cooking time.

I stir fry the chicken just until it turns white, then tip it out into a bowl. Reduce the first 1/3 cup sauce until very thick,then tip the chicken back into the pan to seal the carmel onto the meat. Then, remove the chicken into the (rinsed) bowl and reduce the remainder of the sauce in the skillet. Tip the chicken back into the pan to finish the cooking once the sauce is reduced sufficiently.

Next time, I'm planning on adding a tsp or so of chili flakes to the second reduction... :)

Chef - Can I reduce the quantity of water to speed up the cooking?

Anonymous said...

Why does your recipe differ from this one?

http://www.epicurious.com/features/chefs/recipes/232837

Chef John said...

Did you read the post?

It differs because I made it, not the Chef at the Slanted Door.

As I said in the article...
"My version adds peanuts for a little crunch, and I’ve simplified the technique so you can easily make this at home, right on the stove top. Their version is cooked in a clay pot, which most of us don’t have lying around."

Teresa said...

This is amazing! I'll definitely be making this again. Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

I love caramel chicken, first time I tried it was in the Grand Lux Cafe in Beverly Hills and it is one of my favorite dishes. Now I know the recipe and since it is made by you, I know it'll be good. Thx :)

Sally Kate said...

Will it burn if I do not use a non-stick pan? Thanks!

Chef John said...

well, you kinda want it to burn, but it will stick to the pan instead of the chicken.

Kevin said...

This does sound good. I will have to try it. I like the flavour that the caramel adds over just using sugar. Bookmarked.

Ravenous Couple said...

We've made this several times and never get tired of it. We use sesame and marinate the chicken as well, but other then that the recipe is fantastic! We just posted it on our blog.

DavidRayRob said...

2 things. I like sweet but this a little to sweet. I'd reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup next time. Second, there really is no need for the water, it takes to long to reduce down to a thick syrup. I was afraid the chicken was going to overcook it simmered so long. No sense in adding so much liquid if all you are going to do is just going to boil it off. Very good flavor however, thank you.

Alikat said...

I just found you, Chef John, a few days ago and you have got me excited about cooking!! We made this Caramel Chicken dish last night and fell in love with it!! I look forward to making more of your dishes this week. Everything is so easy and the flavors you put together are great and creative!!

Thanks you so much and much love from NC!
Allison K.

PS You are funny too :)

Stacie said...

Made this last night and it was yummy! I was very pleasantly suprised because fish sauce smells disgusting alone! :O) Turned out awesome but a little too spicy for my taste. I think I may have let the jalapenos cook down too long? I think next time I will only use 1 and reduce the liquid less.
Thanks Chef John!

Michael Natkin said...

Hey John - Don't know if you remember me, we sat together for dinner at IFBC. Anyhow, I was just looking for a version of this recipe so I could adapt it to tofu, and I found yours. Works great! Delicious stuff. I like your shortcut of making the caramel right in the pan.

Chef John said...

Hey Michael! Sounds great! Did you fry the tofu first?

Anonymous said...

I see this post has been inactive for over a year but it's new to me. This Caramel Chicken was so good and we used the leftovers on pizza!! I hope you don't mind I linked your blog here:
http://pizzaandmovienight.blogspot.com/2011/10/franklin-and-carmel-chicken.html

Aaron Gottlieb said...

My chicken released a ton of water when I was cooking, so the sauce never got that one-on-one time with the heat so it could thicken up. How do I know how much water is going to come out, or how can I prevent it from coming out so I don't have this problem?

Still tasted good though, thanks for the recipe!

Chef John said...

Just let it cook out! You need to be patient and let the water boil out and it would be fine.

Aaron Gottlieb said...

The chicken let out a ton of water when I was cooking it, so that sauce never got that one-on-one time with the heat so it could thicken up. How do I know how much water the chicken will release, or how can I prevent it from releasing it so this doesn't happen again?

Still yummy though, thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Chef John, you're a genius! I love watching you and can I just say I learn more from your short videos than I do watching Food network all day! Thanks for all the delicious recipes!

liat said...

I loved it and so did all my family,including my ever so picky girls. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

This is so good and so easy to make. Followed recipe exactly and it turned out so awesome!!

Joe B. said...

We just made this dish tonight. It was easy and DELICIOUS! We doubled the recipe because we are a family of seven. Everyone loved it!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just found your website yesterday. Absolutely my new best friend. Caramel Chicken is delicious. Unable to find fish sauce in our small town - substituted soy with lime juice. Can't wait to try it with actual ingredients. Thank you so much.

sarcasticone said...

I just made it tonight and even though I didn't have the exact ingredients it came out great. I had breasts instead of thighs, which I'm sure would have been better, and I couldn't get fish sauce on short notice so I used oyster sauce. I'll just say that like others I think I'll use less liquid or reduce the sauce alone for awhile next time. Thanks for a great recipe!

javier said...

Dear Chef John, I will start at the end of the story: I'd love to see you cooking the spring rolls with peanut sauce they make (or used to?) at the Slanted Door. It could be pork-filled, shrimp-filled, or even bacon-filled if that helps you help me. The other part of the story I was hoping to omit for the sake of brevity, is that by watching your great videos I've became a lazy bastard and do not have the patience to watch anybody else cooking on-line, taking hours to do a quick demo. Thank you very much.