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The Simple Secret To San Francisco's Famous Spicy Caramel Chicken

Here it is, beautiful and delicious Spicy Caramel Chicken. It's the dish made famous twice; first, by the very popular Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door, in San Francisco; and then again, when Chef John sleuthed out the recipe for the hungry masses beyond Fog City.

Chef John's Caramel Chicken

Photo by Chef John

What's the secret to Chef John's version of Caramel Chicken? High heat and a heavy pan. The idea is to get a deep, dark mahogany caramelization on the chicken pieces, preferably chicken thighs. Why thighs? Because chicken breast pieces tend to dry out before the pieces are properly browned.

The key is to go bold. As the chicken darkens, don't doubt yourself. Let it go a little longer, let it get a little darker.

Here's Chef John getting the caramelization just right:


Follow Chef John's lead, and you'll end up with perfectly caramelized chicken that combines sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and plenty of yummy umami. Give it a try!

Chef John's Caramel Chicken

Photo by Chef John

Check out our collection of Chef John's Food Wishes Recipes.


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Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

Carl will eat that. Share with him @CarlNo9 on Twitter.