When Zach told me that he wanted to eat "chicken with the brown rice", I wasn't too sure what he was talking about. Initially, I thought he meant claypot chicken rice, but that wasn't it. After a few guessing games, I found out that he was really referring to this simple chicken dish cooked with sesame oil and ginger with a soy-caramel sauce. I used to cook it quite often until recently when I was in my "Japanese rice bowl" phase. The reference he made to "brown rice" is purely a result of mixing the dark sauce through the rice before I serve it to them. As the sauce has been reduced until slightly thick and sweet, only a few spoonfuls of it is enough to flavour a bowl of rice. This is my absolute go-to dish especially when I need to get dinner on the table quickly and without too much hassle and clean-up.
Braised Chicken with Caramel, Ginger and Sesame Oil
350g / 12 oz (about 3 pieces) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 inch ginger, sliced thinly
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 tsp Cheong Chan thick caramel sauce (thick dark soy)
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing or chinese cooking wine
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small pan, heat up the oils. Add ginger and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken with the thick caramel and fry until seared all over. Add soy sauce, wine, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and stir to mix. Cover with a lid and let it simmer on low-medium heat for 30 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half. It should be slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dish out and serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.
Optional: You can add hard-boiled eggs or potatoes to the dish if you like.