Vietnamese Caramelized Glaze for Braising & Slow-cooking | Braised Chicken with Ginger & Lemongrass

*There are video tutorials at the end of this post.

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Good afternoon from the ancient town of Hội An!

We had a power outrage two days ago. A stormy Sunday without power was actually not too bad because the cool air helped us survive without air conditioner. It was even quite enjoyable, indeed! We spent the whole evening in our candle-lit house reading books, listening to the sound of raindrops and sipping red wine. It was as much fun as one of those nights camping in the forest when we were teenagers, overly excited about star gazing in the sound of crickets and frogs.

I cook very often these days. Maybe it’s the cool weather that makes me crave a cozy simple meal at home – a bowl of hot beef stew with freshly baked bread, a plate of chicken braised in ginger sauce with jasmine rice… I have a thing for slow-cooking and braising recipes. It’s not only about the delicious taste of well-marinated meat, but also the wait in my steamy kitchen full of ginger, lemongrass, or cinnamon aromas. It’s the relaxing scent of my kitchen, my home, and I feel so comforted being here!

This caramelized sauce is my recipe for most braised meats. It works really well with fish, pork (see the recipe for caramelized pork in coconut juice here) and chicken. It’s very versatile and can be made in advance to keep in the fridge for as long as three months.

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This braised chicken recipe is another example of how well the caramelized sauce works in cooking different kinds of meat. I used lemongrass in this recipe, but it’s optional if you can’t find lemongrass where you live. Just ginger is enough to give a spicy kick to the chicken. If you live in New York, you can easily find lemongrass in Westside Market or the Vietnamese Store Tan Tin Hung 121 Bowery in China Town. That’s where I used to go buy Vietnamese exotic herbs. And if you’re overseas, I highly recommend this Red Boat Fish Sauce which offers an authentic flavor of the best fish sauce you can possibly find in Vietnam.

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This dish pairs perfectly with rice, as the sauce and lemongrass mix with your rice to provide a fun and delicious side dish, so be generous with the sauce! Try this easy and simple recipe yourself on one of these cool (or cold!) late Fall days and please let me know how it went in the comments below.

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And here are the video tutorials! Chúc ngon miệng!



– Boiling water: 150 ml
– Sugar: 100 grams
– Fish sauce: 100 ml


1. Boil a kettle of water
2. Add sugar to a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. When sugar starts to brown, turn to low heat and stir constantly until sugar turns liquid in caramel color.
3. Slowly add boiling water and stir constanly until sugar fully dissolves. Make to to add water slowly and carefully to avoid splashing.
4. When sugar fully dissolves, turn heat to medium and add fish sauce. Continue stirring until the mixture boils.
5. Turn off heat, let cool and keep the mixture in a jar.

This caramelized sauce can be kept in the fridge for three months.



– Chicken: 2 large drumsticks (or any part of the chicken that you like) about 500 grams or 1 lb.
– Lemongrass: 5 stalks, peeled the outside and finely chopped.
– Ginger: 1 medium piece, peeled and finely chopped.
– Caramelized sauce: 70 ml
– Pepper: 1 teaspoon or to taste
– Cooking oil: 2 tablespoons


1. Marinate the chicken with pepper, 1/2 the lemongrass and ginger, and caramelized sauce. Let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil. Cook for 1 minute.
3. Add remaining lemongrass and ginger. Stir for about 1 minute.
4. Add chicken and reduce heat to low.
5. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the pan and the chicken. Flip. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and serve. Best served with jasmine rice and greens of your choice.

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4 thoughts on “Vietnamese Caramelized Glaze for Braising & Slow-cooking | Braised Chicken with Ginger & Lemongrass

  1. avatar

    I just saw your video about making the caramel sauce.. I think the pan you used is just as important. What did you used in this video?

    1. avatar

      Hi Nga. That’s a very good question! The pan I used to caramelize sugar in the video is a aluminum one, but any pan or sauce pan would work. Just make sure not to use a ceramic or clay one because it might crack due to the high temperature. Good luck and if possible, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear 🙂

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