Caramel Chicken

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While this is the year of the horse for the Chinese Calendar, this is also the year for savory and sweet to marry. Caramel chicken is on the tails of the ever favorite General Tso’s chicken. While the recipe calls for brown sugar, note the chicken is not deep fried and using organic brown sugar and free-range chicken (Fresh Market)

Caramel Chicken

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken legs
  • Kosher salt
  • 7-8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 1/4"-thick slices peeled ginger
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Cooked pineapple rice- see below


Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and, working in 2 batches, cook until golden brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Add garlic to pot and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. Pour off fat from pot.

Return pot to medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup water, scraping up browned bits. Add brown sugar; stir to dissolve, then cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar (it may bubble up; sugar will crystallize); stir to dissolve sugar.

Add ginger, broth, and soy sauce, then add chicken, skin side up, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot; turn to coat. Top with scallions and serve with pineapple cilantro rice.

Pineapple cilantro rice

  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice.
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 scallions, chopped thin
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup chopped organic cilantro.

Toss all ingredients together and serve with caramel chicken

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at