Monday, June 26, 2017

Instant Pot: Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken

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There's something about foods that are sticky and sweet. Think barbecue, sticky buns, taffy... and chicken. Yes, chicken! This recipe for Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken is a sweet and savory dish that's full of complex flavor yet so simple and quick to prepare in less than 30 minutes! Have I piqued your interest and curiosity? Read on...

Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken is a dish that consists of first making a simple caramel with brown sugar and water. Once the caramel is a rich deep brown color, more water, fish sauce, grated fresh ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and chicken is added. After a few minutes, the liquid will reduce and eventually boil up to a sticky, salty and sweet sauce, resulting in a caramel type consistency. It's quite an intriguing recipe despite being so simple and straightforward. And it's amazing that this dish is done in less than 30 minutes too, making it great for the weeknights. I served this over steamed jasmine rice along with steamed broccoli.


Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken
recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press MANUAL on the IP.

Add the chicken and broth into the IP.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 10 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 10 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen). The IP will automatically default to the WARM mode.


Using tongs, remove the chicken from the IP and leave 1/4 of broth in the IP.

Press SAUTE and add sugar. Stir mixture until bubbling and very dark brown, about 6-8 minutes.


Whisk in the 1/4 cup water, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes. Stir in pressure cooked chicken and cook until the sauce is thickened and sticky and chicken is tender, about 3-5 minutes. 

Serve with steamed jasmine rice.


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