Sunday, March 11

Ga Kho - Vietnamese caramelized chicken

My mom's ga kho is the best. I've been bugging her to teach me for years now but as usual, she says "No, it's too difficult, just come home and eat it." Hmph! How do moms expect you to learn if they don't teach? Where did they get their culinary start? Luckily for me, there is always the internet. I decided to follow The Ravenous Couple's recipe for my first time making ga kho. 

I did make one substitution which was replacing water with CoCo Rico soda. Sometimes mom might even use coconut water.

Here's the sauce made from the ingredients pictured above.

The substitution of coconut soda for water most likely caused my sauce to bubble like this. Not a bad thing, just fun to watch. Unfortunately, my chicken didn't brown as I liked. I think the back burner isn't as strong as the burner I usually use. 

Here's the final results. I also sauteed some greens with oyster sauce. The runny sauce that pools in the pan after I took the greens out were used to make a dipping sauce. I mixed it with fish sauce, sugar, garlic, chili, and lemon in a Thai-style dipping sauce for the greens.

The results were pretty delicious. Not too bad for a first try. Some things I will change next time is using less sugar and less fish sauce. I think my proportion of chicken is less than the 2.5lbs required for the recipe so there was more sauce than chicken. Also, like my mom's ga kho, when we buy a butcher knife, I will chop the chicken into 1 inch sections for even sauce coverage and easier eating. Next time I'll also let the pan heat up more before putting the chicken in. Maybe this would help it brown better. Substituting coconut soda for water was a good choice, but I will have to decrease the amount of sugar to balance the sweetness of the soda. Overall though, good effort.
P.S. Your house will smell like fish sauce for days so cook outside, or ventilate properly.


  1. Very interesting. You might be interested in this post I did on fish sauce.

  2. Did your mom's version have sesame seed, too? The sauce looks like a perfect glaze, which I have never done before. I'm really impressed. =P

    1. No, she didn't add sesame seeds. Actually I could do without them next time. She does use chili pepper though, which I omit b/c the Mister can't eat it. My bro makes a version with oyster sauce which I want to try next.



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