Chef John, I'd like to meet you some day and give you a big ol' hug! I love the way you cook. I made this for my boys and everyone was amazed by how good it was. And for such a simple dish, it had a really complex flavor that knocked all our socks off!
The recipe is versatile enough to accommodate what you have on hand, or for your personal tastes. I didn't have fish sauce, so I substituted with about a teaspoon of anchovy paste in 1/3 cup soy sauce. The fresh jalapeno didn't appeal to me, so instead, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes. The key ingredients for the sauce are the soy/fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger. If you start there and add/subtract what you like/don't like, this will always be a hit.
For those of you who had trouble getting the sauce to thicken; this dish must be cooked on high heat for the entire cooking time in order to achieve the right caramelization on the chicken and to get the sauce to reduce. I used the entire amount of water called for and my reduction took between 10-15 minutes. The sauce will bubble and foam. That's ok. That's what you're looking for to get it to reduce. Don't be afraid of how hard it boils. Let it do what it do!!!
DO NOT USE BREAST MEAT! Boneless, skinless thighs can withstand the high temperatures required to make this dish. Breast meat will dry out way before your sauce is properly reduced.
Fantastic with a side of steamed broccoli with a bit of the sauce drizzled over it. YUM!!
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Chef John, I'd like to meet you some day and give you a big ol' hug! I love the way you cook....