Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken – Gà Kho

Quick and tasty everyday meal made with simple ingredients. This is one of my family’s most requested meals. The kids get excited when I make this and usually ask for seconds! Yum!

Easy to pull together even when I’m in a time crunch and I often double the recipe to have some leftovers. See recipe notes for other tips and cook time adjustment for doubling the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this dish and have fun cooking!

Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken – Gà Kho

Servings: 3 – 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼  teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot 
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions (including white part)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • Thai chili peppers or jalapenos * Optional but highly recommended


Wash and finely chop garlic, shallots, green onions and set aside. 

Pat dry chicken with paper towel and slice into small pieces (about 1 inch thick, 4 inch long). Add salt, pepper, mix well and set aside. 

To make caramel sauce – in a large skillet/wok,add water, sugar and gently stir to mix, heat on medium and let it cook for about 8 minutes. Once it starts to bubble, the caramelizing happens quickly, be careful not to burn.

When sauce is a nice caramel color (dark brown), immediately add oil and chopped shallots, garlic and onions, this helps prevent the caramel from burning. Add fish sauce, stir well and cook for about 3 minutes until tender. Add chicken, coat with sauce from pan, increase heat to medium high, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid, give it a quick stir and cook uncovered for another 7-10 minutes or until sauce is reduced down to a sticky caramel texture.

Remove from heat, let it rest for about 5 minutes for the sauce to cool down and thickens a bit more. Top with chopped green onions, cilantro. Served warm with jasmine rice, sliced cucumbers or your favorite veggies, including kimchi!

Recipe notes:

  • Add whole chili pepper or jalapeno for heat when adding chicken to the sauce. Or enjoy with sliced peppers as topping. The spiciness adds a nice balance to the sweet and savory flavor.
  • May sub with chicken breast but be sure to reduce the cook time by about 3-5 minutes to avoid overcooking.

10 thoughts on “Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken – Gà Kho

  1. Pingback: Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken – Gà Kho — FunSpiration – Publisher news

  2. Lyndaroo

    Is there a substitute for fish sauce? I rarely cook, and I never use fish sauce, so I’d prefer not to buy a whole bottle in case it’s five or more years until I need it again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FunSpiration

    Yes, you can absolutely substitute with soy sauce. It does change the flavor a bit but I think it’s still yummy. For those who are allergic to soy, you can use coconut aminos -made with coconut tree sap and salt. But FYI, there’s a smaller bottle of fish sauce (6.8oz) available so if you make this dish once a month, you’d use it up in 1 year. 😅. Besides, I will have more recipes coming that calls for fish sauce, so you may want to consider getting some for those too. Looking forward to hearing how you like this dish.Thanks for stopping by!


    1. Lyndaroo

      Thanks… I made it on Saturday night. It was delicious!! My friend was making interesting groaning sounds while she was eating it 😄 She was so impressed she decided to follow your blog too! I ended up using Worcestershire sauce instead of fish sauce (just 1/2 the amount), and wild rice instead of jasmine bc that’s what I had in the pantry.


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