Chicken Taco Salad (Grain-Free, Paleo) – Deliciously Organic

Loaded Chicken Taco Salad (Grain-Free, Paleo)

A chicken taco salad loaded with vegetables, a bit of cheese and a cilantro dressing is a fabulous meal for the warmer months. I prefer to put this salad together minus the dressing, so it can last a couple of days in the fridge or so we can pack it for a day out. 

The dressing is a slight variation on my Garlic Yogurt Dressing, with some added cilantro. You could add a little salsa to it as well! And, the crunchy Siete grain-free chips make for a fun addition to the salad. If you can’t tolerate cassava flour, then you can substitute with plantain chips. 

As you know, I make a pot of chicken broth each week, so I used the cooked chicken from the broth in this salad. It’s a great way to use up the cooked meat. 

Here are some other nutrient-dense salads you might enjoy:
Roast Beet and Walnut Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette
Classy Chicken Salad with Dates and Macadamia
Chopped Chicken Waldorf Salad
Greek Chicken Salad
Bacon Deviled Egg Salad
Roasted Sweet Potato, Spinach and Pecan Salad 

Chicken Taco Salad (Grain-Free)

20 minPrep Time

20 minTotal Time

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    For the Salad:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Meat from 1 whole chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup chopped olives
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (omit for dairy-free or paleo)
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 orange, red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups Seite grain-free chips or plantain chips
  • For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup whole, plain yogurt (use coconut or almond milk yogurt for dairy-free)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt


  1. Place all of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.
  2. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a large mason jar and blend with a hand-immersion blender until smooth. (You can also blend the dressing in a blender.)
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve immediately.


Copyright 2016 Deliciously Organic


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Harissa Chicken


Let me start by disclosing something. As soon as I saw the title of this book, and subtitle – Dinner: Changing the Game By Melissa Clark, I knew it was going to be a great book. With a title like that, how could it not be? It’s eclectic, exciting, fresh, do-able, and most important, it answers the question: What am I going to make for dinner?

The book gets right to the point, and the diversity of recipes includes everything from a Chinese-inspired Spicy Stir-fried Cumin Lamb and Duck Breasts with Plums and Garam Masala, to Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese and Seitan Enchiladas, so everyone will feel welcome around Melissa’s dinner table. And yours, too.

I’d bookmarked a number of the recipes in this book, wondering which to do first. Because, like you, I often wonder “What the heck am I going to make for dinner?”

Usually, it’s 4 pm and with the kids on their way home (okay, here it’s just Romain…) I find myself sometimes scrambling for what to make. There is the usual (and easy) poulet rôti that I can grab at the local butcher, which is my fall-back plan, but since I go to the market as much as possible, I put the ingredients for the Harissa Chicken on my shopping list; chicken thighs, potatoes, leeks, and fresh herbs, and off I went.

I love the idea of a one sheet pan dinner, so there’s less clean up. The idea of roasted chicken and potatoes, bathed in harissa, then topped with mildly exotic yogurt sauce and lots of vibrant fresh herbs, also appeals.

This recipe uses chicken thighs and while I know some of your prefer chicken breasts, those would work as well, although you’d need to dial down the baking time because they cook faster. I’d also cut them in half, crosswise, so more of the marinade gets into the meat. I used to eat more chicken breasts than I do now, but have mostly gone to the dark side, where things are a little more delicious.

I was, however, a little concerned that the recipe called for two tablespoons of harissa. Harissa is a fiery-hot North African hot sauce, that enlivens everything that it touches. A dab is sometimes added to couscous (if it’s not offered at the table, I ask for it), and it’s quite piquante.

In this chicken dish, the long cooking mellows it just enough, giving the chicken more of a “glow,” rather than an overly spicy burn. In contrast, there’s an easy, refreshing yogurt sauce that’s dappled over, and around, the top. The original recipe said to strew “soft” herbs over everything, which gives you license to adjust the dish to your taste. Romain recently discovered aneth (dill), something you can buy at the markets in Paris, but is usually destined for salmon dishes; I’ve not seen it served on anything else.

Dill definitely deserves more use here, and everywhere. Next time you make chicken soup, add a handful of chopped fresh dill. It’s wonderful. I’m no expert on North African food, so not sure it’s part of their culinary grab bag, but I’m making it more and more a part of mine. (It’s also great on this Cucumber Feta Salad.)

This dish really did “change my game,” as Melissa promised. It’s going into regular rotation at my house. Bonus points for being able to make the whole dinner on a single baking sheet. Hooray for that, too.

This recipe makes three servings, so you’ll have to fight who gets the leftover for lunch the next day.

FYI: I won.

Harissa Chicken

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Adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa ClarkHarissa is a Moroccan hot sauce. You can find it in shops that specialize in North African and Middle Eastern foods. It’s also available online and I’ve seen it in Trader Joe’s in the U.S. You can also make your own. I have a recipe in My Paris Kitchen. You can substitute another chile paste or sauce, such as Piri-piri sauce. Since they all vary in heat, you can dial whatever you swap it out with, to suit your tastes.This is a fairly straightforward recipe and makes a quick dinner. If you want, the chicken and potatoes can be marinated in the sauce (in step #1) and refrigerated a few hours, or overnight, until you’re ready to bake them. I used an 11 x 17-inch (27x43cm) rimmed baking sheet, which gave everything enough room to keep their distance from each other; if the chicken and potato pieces are too close, they’ll “steam” rather than roast. When you add the leeks in step #5, it’ll look like a lot, but they’ll cook down. If using Morton kosher salt, cut the amount down by about one-third.I also swapped out a few of the potatoes with sweet potatoes to see how they cook, and they came out great. So feel free to substitute sweet potatoes for some, or all, of the regular potatoes.

2 tablespoons harissa

4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons kosher or flaky sea salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3 chicken thighs

3 chicken legs

1 1/2 pounds roasting potatoes (such as Yukon Golds), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch (4cm) cubes

2 leeks, washed, sliced in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced crossways

grated zest of one lemon

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

lemon or lime juice

1 cup (10-12g) a mix of fresh herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill, chervil, and tarragon, very coarsely chopped

1. In a large bowl, mix together the harissa, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Add the chicken and potatoes, then rub the thighs and legs and potatoes with the marinade. Be sure to use your hands to rub the sauce under the skin of the chicken. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the leeks together with the lemon zest, 1/4 of the salt, and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.

3. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.

4. Transfer the chicken and potatoes, and any sauce in the bowl, onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the chicken pieces so they are skin side up, and make sure the chicken parts and potatoes are in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes.

5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Toss the potatoes (so they can brown on the other sides of them) then strew the leeks over everything on the baking sheet. It may look like a lot, but they’ll bake down.

6. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, another 20 to 25 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, in a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the lemon juice and garlic, the remaining salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.

7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon the yogurt sauce in various places over the chicken and potatoes. Top with fresh herbs and serve.

Perfectly seasoned and spiced chicken, roasted potatoes, and fresh herbs make this a perfect (and easy) meal.

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Thai-Style Chicken Salad with Mango Recipe – Deliciously Organic

Thai-Style Chicken Salad with Mango (Grain-Free)

A good chicken salad with fruits and herbs is one of my favorite things to eat during the warmer months. It pairs well with other salads for a lighter meal or spooned into lettuce cups for a quick wrap.

You can use poached or roasted chicken for the salad, or even the leftover cooked meat when you make a pot of chicken broth.

I adapted this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. That magazine has been one of my all-time favorites for over 20 years and my go-to for solid, well-tested recipes. They also have an online membership if you’d like to have all of their recipes at your fingertips instead of a physical magazine arriving each month. I’m not affiliated with them, but I do love their recipes!

Here are some other salads you might enjoy!
Wedge Salad with Yogurt Dressing
Peach and Arugula Salad
Blueberry, Tomato and Burrata Salad
Cobb Salad

Thai-Style Chicken Salad with Mango – Grain-Free

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

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    For the Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • For the Chicken:

  • 4 cups of cooked shredded chicken (you can use poached chicken, rotisserie, or leftover cooked chicken from making chicken broth)
  • For the Salad:

  • 2 mangos, peeled, pitted and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped


  1. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Place the chicken, chopped mango, mint, cilantro and basil in a medium bowl. Pour dressing over the top and toss to coat. Serve.*
  3. *I find this salad tastes better after it sits for a while, so I prefer to make it earlier in the day, cover it and place it in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight.



Copyright 2016 Deliciously Organic

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17 Healthy Ways to Cook Chicken in an Instant Pot

Chicken dinners are already easy weeknight meals, but there’s a way to make them even easier. All you need is a little help from an Instant Pot. If you haven’t already heard about the kitchen gadget taking the internet by storm, you should know that it’s extremely popular for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it has no less than 17 functions, namely slow-cooking, yogurt-making, and even rice-cooking. Don’t already have your hands on one? You can buy our preferred model here!

Along with all those quirky functions, it’s most famous for its pressure-cooking capabilities, which allow it to make things that might normally take hours in a fraction of the time. Chicken recipes that might have needed an hour or two in the oven or on the stove now only need thirty minutes to an hour, sometimes even less than that. These 17 healthy chicken recipes are yummiest ones you can make in an Instant Pot. They’re tasty, satisfying, and they’ll cut your usual chicken cook-time in half.


Salsa Chicken Tacos from Cooking Classy

The nice thing about these tacos is that you can make them with either the slow-cooker or pressure-cooker setting, so it all depends on how much time you want to spend on them. Get the recipe here.

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Grilled Chicken with Olive Tapenade Recipe – Deliciously Organic

Grilled Chicken with Olive Tapenade

When it comes to eating healthy, we often make things too complicated. We feel like everything needs to look like it does on Instagram, or we focus on all of the foods we wish we could eat, instead of the foods we actually can enjoy eating.

I completely understand the temptation, especially if you’ve just found out you have to avoid dairy and gluten, or are in dire straits and wanting to change your diet so you can feel better, but I want to encourage you to take a step back and try and simplify. Eating healthy really doesn’t have to be super complicated!

Today, I’ve got some tips that I share with my Nutritional Therapy clients to make the change go as smooth as possible.

  1. Focus on what you can eat instead of what you have to avoid. This mindset makes it easier and much more enjoyable as you’re taking steps to change things up.
  2. Focus on the major food groups – protein, carbs and fats – and make sure you get enough of each. In general, it’s a good idea to get 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. You might find you need a bit more or less of certain foods, so make sure to listen to your body and do what’s best for you.
  3. A good way to get going is to purchase meats, vegetables and healthy fats. For most of our meals, I pull out a piece of meat and vegetables, cook them in some butter, season with Celtic sea salt and I’ve got an entire meal that is satisfying and nutritious!
  4. Make soups and stews the backbone of your diet. I make one pot a week and then we reheat when needed for lunches, a quick dinner or even breakfast.
  5. Get an insulated thermos so you can reheat soups, stews, and leftovers and take them with you to work, if you’re out running errands, if you’re traveling, etc.
  6. Have a couple smoothie recipes that you enjoy, and always have those ingredients on hand for an easy meal.
  7. Grab some Farmhouse Culture sauerkraut and eat a few tablespoons each day to get in a few million probiotics in your diet. Easy, right?!

If you’re looking for more daily inspiration, I encourage you to come join me over on Instagram. By the way, you don’t have to have an account on Instagram to see my posts, just bookmark this page and check out my daily tips!

Grilled Chicken with Olive Tapenade

Here is a new, easy chicken recipe for you! The chicken can either be grilled or cooked on the stove top in a grill pan and then it’s topped with an olive tapenade. The tapenade takes just minutes to put together and you can store the leftovers in the fridge to use later in the week over vegetables or other grilled meats.

What are your favorite healthy recipes you like to cook during the week? I’d love it if you linked to them in the comment section so we can all bookmark them!

Grilled Chicken with Olive Tapenade (and Healthy Eating Tips)

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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    For the Chicken:

  • 4 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Tapenade:

  • 1 cup green olives
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Heat the grill to medium and season chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper. Grill until cooked though.
  2. Meanwhile, put the green olives, shallots, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are diced. Pour olive mixture into a small bowl and stir in olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt if preferred.
  3. Place the grilled chicken on a platter and top with tapenade. Serve.



Copyright 2016 Deliciously Organic


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This Italian Crockpot Chicken with Garlic and Basil is Pasta Night Comfort Food

crockpot chicken

Enjoying a delicious and protein-filled pasta night has never been easier thanks to this easy Italian crockpot chicken recipe with tomato sauce, garlic, and fresh basil. Simply put all the ingredients in a crockpot, leave it for the day, and return home to quick (and healthy!) comfort food.

This crockpot chicken recipe couldn’t be easier. All you’ll need are two frozen chicken breasts and a handful of other pantry ingredients. If your chicken is already thawed, have no fear! Simply cook the chicken in the crockpot for less time.

Choose certified organic chicken, if possible, or purchase chicken locally from a farmers market. Many labels on packaged chicken, such as sustainably farmed and humanely raised, are unverifiable and actually give no indication for how the chicken was raised. Choosing organic chicken means that the chicken was raised without antibiotics or hormones and complies with the USDA’s definition of organic practices.

Organic frozen chicken is combined with tomato sauce and hearty, Italian flavors in a crockpot. Choose plain organic tomato sauce, or one that hasn’t been sweetened or filled with preservatives and additives. Find glass jars or cardboard boxes of plain tomato sauce for this recipe at local health food stores or Whole Foods Market.

Balsamic vinegar is a delicious addition to this crockpot chicken recipe and adds a hint of acid and balance to the sauce. When slow cooked, balsamic vinegar sweetens and has a remarkable taste.

Whole cloves of garlic and onion infuse into the sauce to create a heavenly tasting (and smelling) sauce. When cooked low and slow, both garlic and onion sweeten and take on a caramelized, rich flavor.

After cooking for hours, this crockpot chicken is ready to go. Simply shred the chicken with a fork and serve with your favorite pasta noodles, baked spaghetti squash, or zucchini zoodles. Top with fresh basil and enjoy a hearty comfort classic!

crockpot chicken

Italian Crockpot Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic


  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves whole garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon tea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil, chopped, to garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients, except for fresh basil, in a crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
  3. After cooking, use a fork to shred chicken in the crockpot.
  4. Serve chicken with fresh basil and sauce over pasta, spaghetti squash, or alongside vegetables. Enjoy!


If your chicken is already thawed, cook for 4 hours instead.


Related On Organic Authority
Protein-Packed Vegetable and Lentil Crockpot Soup with Herbs de Provence
Take It Slow: 5 Classic Crockpot Recipes Worth The Wait
Rock These Steel Cut Vegan Overnight Oats in Your Slow Cooker Like a Boss

Photos by Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master’s of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she’s not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer’s markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.

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Skillet Chicken Thighs With Cabbage and Quinoa

Skillet Chicken Thighs With Cabbage and Quinoa

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell
Makes 2 Servings
  • 2 medium chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on, about 4-ounces each)
  • 1tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2cloves garlic
  • 1tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 2teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2cups cooked quinoa
  • 2tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. In a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until skin crisps slightly and some fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In a bowl, toss cabbage, garlic, mustard, and maple syrup until combined. Add to skillet, leaving chicken skin side down. Transfer to oven and roast 15 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet, toss quinoa with cabbage, and place chicken skin side up on top of cabbage. Roast 10 minutes more, until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve chicken atop cabbage-quinoa mixture.

Nutrition Per Serving

554 calories
23 g fat (5 g saturated)
58 g carbs
13 g sugar
11 g fiber
30 g protein


chicken thighs, chicken, cabbage, quinoa, mustard, parsley, maple syrup, dinner, high fiber, gluten free, lunch, one-pan meals, selfstarter

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Butter Chicken Recipe (Grain-Free) – Deliciously Organic

Butter chicken is a comforting and nourishing meal that has become a family favorite these last few months. The chicken is marinated in yogurt, vindaloo spice blend, and lemon juice and then combined with caramelized onions, broth, tomatoes and cream to create a luxurious meal.

Butter chicken is a comforting and nourishing meal that has become a family favorite these last few months. The chicken is marinated in yogurt, vindaloo spice blend, and lemon juice and then combined with caramelized onions, broth, tomatoes and cream to create a luxurious meal.

With a recipe like this, I’m pretty sure many of you will ask about adaptations, so let’s dive in:

  1. If you need to avoid dairy, you can make this with a dairy-free yogurt, coconut oil and coconut milk (see specific measurements below).
  2. If you need to avoid tomatoes, you can use 1 cup of this Nomato sauce. If you’re wondering why I use nightshades in my recipes and if you need to avoid them, read this article.
  3. You can serve this with either riced cauliflower or properly prepared brown rice.
  4. The Vindaloo spice blend is a must. I honestly don’t know how to make this dish without it. You can purchase it here, or make your own.

I like to put together the marinade in the morning and then finish the rest when it’s time to cook dinner. It also makes for great leftovers!

Butter Chicken Recipe

20 minPrep Time

60 minCook Time

1 hr, 20 Total Time

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  • For the marinade:
  • 1 cup plain, whole yogurt (or coconut or almond milk yogurt for a dairy-free option)
  • 1/4 cup Vindaloo spice blend
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
  • For the onions:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (or 4 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil for a dairy-free option)
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw cream or coconut milk
  • Cilantro and chopped cashews for serving (optional)


  1. Stir the yogurt, vindaloo spice blend, and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Stir in the chicken and make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for about 8-10 hours, or you can leave the mixture on the counter for 1 hour to marinate if you’re short on time.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and cook on low heat for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and caramelized. Stir in the chicken mixture (yogurt, spices and all) and increase the heat to medium. Stir in the tomatoes, stock and salt. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream. Serve over riced cauliflower, or soaked brown rice, and top with chopped cilantro and cashews.



Copyright 2016 Deliciously Organic


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Vietnamese Caramel Chicken


The first time I had chicken cooked caramel sauce was at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. “Caramel? With chicken?” I thought. But once I tasted it, I didn’t need to wonder why it became their signature dish.

Back then, The Slanted Door was a small restaurant in the Mission, on a street that was notable for Latin markets, edgy bars, and burritos. Things have changed and last time I went with Romain, I took him into a hipster shop that had “pine water,” that was something like $80 a bottle. When the bearded clerk wearing a soy-based dyed muslin apron with leather straps and vintage buckles kindly asked how we were finding everything, Romain replied in broken English, “Very expensive.”

The Slanted Door was sort of a breakthrough place in San Francisco, and it thrived in that neighborhood, until the chef wanted to expand, which raised the ire of some of the neighbors. So he moved to the Ferry Plaza building, to spiffier digs, adjacent to the splendid outdoor market. I ate there about a year ago and the famous Clay Pot Caramel Chicken is still on the menu, and still a favorite.

At The Slanted Door, the dish is cooked in a clay pot. I have a gazillion pots and pans, seemingly for everything, except a clay pot. And I’m not getting one, because I have nowhere to put it. (I’m still trying to find a place for the slow cooker that everyone said that I just had to have…which is still unopened.)

But it doesn’t matter; the chicken in caramel sauce can be made in any vessel, like a large skillet or saucepan, or even a Dutch (or French) oven-type pot. Heck, if you’ve got one (and have opened in the box), you could probably make it in a slow cooker.

I love this recipe for a number of reasons. One is that’s it’s very easy and quick to make; you can have dinner on the table in about half an hour. But also, you don’t need to hunt down a laundry list of ingredients to get authentic Vietnamese flavors. The only thing you’ll need to do is track down palm sugar.

Supermarkets in America often carry coconut sugar, which is close, but not quite the same thing. I haven’t tried it, so can’t say if it’ll work, so I recommend stocking up on palm sugar. It’s inexpensive and lasts forever. I discovered palm sugar on a trip to Thailand, fell in love with it, and brought back enough to last me through the following decade.

I made a few modifications to the original recipe but the best tip ever was from Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, who told me, “Melt the palm sugar in a microwave oven!” which works very well; in thirty seconds, you’ve got melted palm sugar. Bingo! That worked great and I made it with the aid of le micro-onde the next time I tried it, and it worked like a charm.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

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Adapted from The Slanted Door by Charles Phan.I tinkered with the recipe, mostly with the portion size. Although I think they have their place, chicken thighs, rather than boneless chicken breasts, are best to use here. I’ve tried it with all breast meat and the dish is less-appealing made with white meat. For those who insist, a good compromise would be a mix of dark and white meat.Palm sugar is available in Asian markets and online. It usually comes in disks, although it’s sometimes sold in tubs, which is harder to portion out. Indian markets carry jaggery, a cousin to palm sugar (sometimes made from sugar cane, and is a bit more stubborn to melt), could be used, although I recommend tracking down palm sugar.
For the caramel

8 ounces (235g) light brown palm sugar, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup (160ml) fish sauce

2 Thai chiles, sliced lengthwise

For the chicken

1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds (700g) boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 inch (5cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

3 medium shallots (about 2 ounces, total, 60g) shallots, peeled and sliced into rings

fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. To make the caramel, melt the palm sugar over low heat in a medium-to-large saucepan or skillet, stirring frequently (and breaking it up) to encourage it to melt. It’ll take about 10 minutes to liquefy completely. Similarly, you can place the palm sugar in a large glass heatproof measuring cup or bowl and melt the palm sugar in a microwave oven, which will take about 20 to 30 seconds.

2. When the sugar is melted and bubbling, remove from heat and gradually add the fish sauce into the liquefied palm sugar, while stirring. (If you have a hood fan, you may wish to turn it on before adding the fish sauce.) It may also bubble up a bit, so be careful. Add the chiles and set aside.

3. To cook the chicken, heat the oil in a medium-to-large sauté or wide braising pan, or regular-sized Dutch oven. Add the ginger and shallots and cook until they start to wilt, about 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the chicken and the caramel, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the sauce is just simmering. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. (The original recipe said to cook the chicken for 20 minutes, but mine was done sooner.)

Serving: Serve the chicken with rice.

Storage: The chicken is best eaten right after it’s made. The sauce can be made up to one month ahead, and refrigerated. Rewarm until liquified before using.

Related Posts and Links

Charles Phan makes Clay Pot Chicken with Caramel Sauce (Epicurious, Video)

Palm sugar and Coconut sugar (The Spruce)

Palm Sugar (Amazon)

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles


This easy stovetop Caramel Chicken recipe is a perfect dinner, quick to make and delicious to eat! A signature dish from The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

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