Oh, how I love caramel chicken! I absolutely love this sweet and spicy dish. I first tried caramel chicken as an appetizer at a restaurant in Seattle. I gobbled it up so quickly that I had to order another one. Not good for my waistline but I couldn’t resist! It was that good. It seemed to have a coating, maybe panko, and was deep fried. The sauce was to die for! I daydreamed about that caramel chicken. I loved it so much, I had to make my own version which I have appropriately named The Tastiest Caramel Chicken because, well, it’s so tasty!
The Tastiest Caramel Chicken is a sweet and spicy dish. Finding the right balance of flavors was the key. At first I thought I may have added too much rice vinegar to the sauce but when the sauce caramelized it was perfect! The rice vinegar cut the sweetness of the brown sugar. The garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes kicked up the flavor of this sauce. I have to say, it’s a simple dish to make but it does require some patience to let the sauce to caramelize. It’s totally worth it so don’t skip this part!
When you are cooking the chicken in the sauce, don’t worry if the sauce is rapidly boiling. This is part of the caramelizing process. Also, after removing the chicken and adding the remaining sauce, make sure to stir the sauce frequently as it’s boiling so it doesn’t burn. The sauce should reduce by half and become syrupy….YUM!!!
I used a low sodium soy sauce for this dish so it wouldn’t be too salty. I also added some cilantro at the end of my meal preparation because I’m a fan of cilantro. I think it adds a freshness to dishes. I also, I wanted this dish to be super tasty without having to bread and deep fry the chicken. No breading or deep frying are required. I used some chicken breasts tenders because I had them on hand. You could use chicken thighs and the dish would be yummy as well. Just have to make sure the chicken is cooked through before removing it from the pan. I think you could probably substitute a few things in this dish or omit them all together if you wish. For instance, you could use some fish sauce or oyster sauce in place of some of the soy sauce. Or perhaps use some, jalapenos or chili sauce in place of the red pepper flakes.
I can now make my own caramel chicken, The Tastiest Caramel Chicken, and it tastes A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I poured The Tastiest Caramel Chicken over Jasmin rice and happily ate every delicious morsel. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!
- 1.25 lbs chicken breast tenders
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup of low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 5 cloves of garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ cup roasted peanuts , chopped
- 1 bunch of scallions (about 5), chopped
- ½ cup cilantro leaves , loosely packed
Whisk brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger in a bowl until brown sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in skillet on medium heat. 30 seconds.
Add the chicken pieces in the pan and pour 1/3 cup of the brown sugar mixture over chicken; cook the chicken until it is no longer pink inside. Depending on the size of chicken pieces, 3-6 minutes a side. Make sure to stir the brown sugar mixture in the skillet so it doesn’t burn.
Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the skillet and set aside. The sauce should remain in the skillet.
Pour in the remaining brown sugar mixture. Cook on high heat, stirring the mixture until reduced and syrupy. This may take 15+ minutes. It’s okay if the brown sugar mixture is at a rapid boil. This is the process of reducing the mixture to a thicker consistency.
Once the brown sugar mixture has reduced and become syrupy, turn the heat down to medium and add back in the chicken pieces. Stir in the red pepper flakes, peanuts, jalapenos and green onion; cook until warmed through, 3-4 minutes.
Pour the chicken and sauce over Jasmin rice and sprinkle with cilantro. Enjoy!!