“Another classic kho recipe to do ahead and eat with rice. You can substitute the ginger with two stalks of finely chopped lemongrass or lime leaves,” explains food writer and photographer, Uyen Luu.
“Reduce until it is sticky and caramelised, then enjoy with steamed or sticky rice. You can also use whole drumsticks and thighs too; if you don’t want to remove the bones, just cook it for a bit longer.”
Ginger chicken from Vietnamese by Uyen Luu
1½tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
2 round shallots, roughly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3tsp brown sugar
400g chicken thighs, bones removed, skin on, sliced into bite-sized pieces
70g ginger root, julienned
150ml coconut water
2–4 bird’s eye chillies, whole
2tbsp fish sauce
1tsp heaped black pepper
For the garnish:
Spring onions, sliced lengthways and soaked in cold water until curled (optional)
1. Heat half a tablespoon of the oil over a gentle heat in a saucepan that will fit the chicken pieces snuggly. Fry the shallots until golden, then add the garlic. Stay and watch over the pan until the garlic turns golden, then remove the shallots and garlic from the pan, leaving any oil, and set aside in a small bowl.
2. Add the remaining oil to the same pan and increase the heat to medium. Spread the brown sugar evenly over the surface of the pan. Watch over the pan for the sugar to caramelise, resisting the urge to stir. It should take three-and-a-half to four minutes, but don’t take your eyes off it as it will burn very quickly. As soon it becomes a golden colour, watch for it to slightly darken, then immediately add the chicken pieces and let them sizzle away for a couple of minutes before turning. Add the ginger, let it sit for two minutes, then add the coconut water.
3. Return the fried shallot and garlic to the pan along with the bird’s eye chillies, fish sauce and black pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, then remove the lid to reduce for a further 10–15 minutes. It should be reduced and quite succulent and sticky.
4. When ready to serve, garnish with spring onions. Serve with rice and plenty of greens.
Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food To Cook At Home by Uyen Luu is published by Hardie Grant on May 27th. Photography by Uyen Luu.