I first made this Vietnamese Clay Pot chicken during my first winter in Beijing in 2008. The temperatures were consistently brutally low (think Northern Vermont in January) and the heating in my rental apartment was way less than adequate. I wanted a hearty meaty dish that would also warm up the apartment while it cooked on the stove.
This Vietnamese Clay Pot Chicken, or Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken, was the perfect thing to make. Despite the name, you don't actually need a traditional clay pot; it cooks very well in a Dutch oven or straight-sided skillet as well. This week I revisited and revised the recipe, making it more streamlined ; hopefully you'll like it even better than before!
Cold weather makes me long for piping hot dishes, like clay pot braises. Last night I decided to make clay pot caramelized chicken, and adapted a Vietnamese-style braise from Chef Charles Phan of San Francisco's The Slanted Door. One of the major changes I made was the amount of fish sauce. The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons, which I would not recommend to anyone hoping to keep a decent-smelling kitchen. (See Vietnamese Caramelized Pork.) I reduced the amount to 1 tablespoon, which is plenty for enhancing the flavors of the dish.Read More