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Vietnamese Clay Pot Chicken


Adapted from Chef Charles Phan, via Epicurious. Recipe first posted Feb. 13, 2008, revised November 8, 2012.

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  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or legs, skin-on
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 bird’s eye chilis or other small red peppers, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • Cilantro springs for garnish (optional)


Adapted from


Step 1

Blot the chicken with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Combine the soy sauce, water, white vinegar, fish sauce, and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully place the chicken thighs in the wok skin-side down and sear for about 5 minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In a clay pot, Dutch oven, or deep skillet over medium heat, melt the brown sugar while stirring frequently to avoid scorching. When the sugar fully liquifies, immediate pour in the soy sauce mixture. Add the chicken, onions, chilis, garlic, and ginger. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has reduced by at least half.
Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with cilantro springs, and serve hot with rice on the side.

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