Monday, November 4, 2013

Recipe: Caramel Chicken (Bill Granger)

Hi everyone! For the month of Nov-Dec 2013, we will be cooking Bill Granger's recipes for Cook Like a Star. Bill Granger is an Australian self-taught cook, food writer and restaurateur who takes pride in serving simple and fresh food.  

We went for a few staycations around KL / PD last week and it slipped my mind that "Cook Like Bill Granger" was starting this month. When I got back yesterday, I quickly browsed his recipes online and chose to cook Bill Granger's "Caramel Chicken" (I had all the ingredients needed to make this dish and co-host Zoe also made this and it looked good.)

Caramel chicken

In his recipe, Bill uses chicken thigh but I substituted with chicken breast, our preferred chicken part for stir fries. For the dark soy sauce, I used the dark caramel sauce which has a thicker consistency to regular ones. Another change I made to the recipe is that I reduced the sugar by half - before I started I measured out the sugar and was quite shocked to see how much sugar was going into the dish. Once I started cooking, I added the sugar and tasted it and decided that half was enough for us. The addition of fish sauce balances the sweetness and brings all the flavours together nicely. I also recommend that you season with more freshly ground black pepper before serving.

The first bite gave us the impression that it was too sweet, but once we've had a few pieces, we started to enjoy the taste of this dish, especially my gwailo husband and kids. Hubby commented that it tasted somewhat like "chicken char siew". My kids kept asking for more and my boy said to me when dinner ended "Mummy, next time please make this sweet chicken for us again."

A kid-pleasing recipe :)

Caramel Chicken
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from BBC Food - Bill Granger
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

650g chicken breast, cut into thick chunks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
50g soft brown sugar
3 1/2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Steamed rice
Steamed or stir fried green vegetables

1. Place the chicken and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl and toss to combine.

2. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add half the chicken and cook for 2 minutes on one side until lightly browned, turn and cook for another minute. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are slightly softened.

4. Return the chicken to the pan, season liberally with black pepper, add the soy sauce and stir to combine.
Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to high, add the sugar and stir to combine. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce is rich, dark and syrupy. Add the fish sauce and stir to combine.

5. Place in a serving dish and season with a bit more freshly ground black pepper. Serve with steamed rice and green vegetables.

Note: I used chicken breast instead of chicken thigh, hence cooking times are adjusted accordingly. I also halved the amount of sugar used.

If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! Thanks :)


I am submitting this to the "Cook Like Bill Granger" event which I am co-hosting with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake. To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from any Bill Granger websites or cookbooks for the whole month of November and December 2013. You can link your posts at one of the host's pages.

Your post must be a current post i.e. posted in November and December 2013 - please do not link older posts.Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Mich of Piece of Cake and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.

Happy cooking! Do check out the other bloggers recipe below:


  1. Yes, I'd be cautious about all that sugar too...I suppose you can just change it to suit personal tastes!

    1. I guess that's the good thing about homecooking - you get to adjust seasonings according to your own tastebuds. :)

  2. Nice. Yes, people don't realise how much sugar there is in char siew - that's where you get the nice caramelised burnt bits. Can always do with less.

    1. Yea, I never knew until I started making my own.

  3. Hi Yen,

    Funny that you have been hypothesized by this recipe too! - LOL! Funny too that your hubby said this is chicken char siew :p

    You are right that this dish is the sweeter kind of savoury dish. I didn't cut the amount of sugar added to my dish in order to enjoy the fullest taste of what Bill Granger would cook... and I really like it!

    I reckon the sweetness of this dish will be well balanced off with plain rice and steamed vege :D


    1. I was quite taken aback when I saw how much sugar was going into this dish and decided to cut down, since I was already using dark caramel sauce and not dark soy sauce. Quite happy my kids enjoyed this dish, but my Asian parents still prefer the savoury dark soy sauce chicken.

  4. Hi Yen,
    I would cut down on the sugar too! Haha! I prefer salty over sweet dishes!

    1. First bite and I thought it was too sweet but it really grew on me. In the end, I was wishing there was more!

  5. This chicken looks delicious, love the dark caramelized sauce.

    1. Very yummy, and the kids kept asking for more!

  6. sound simple but I bet the taste is great with dark caramel sauce added..

  7. Yen, this caramel chicken looks really good! Somehow the dark color gives it a lot of appeal. I must try it!

    1. Hehe PH, this tasted great but I didn't like the dark colour - I was desperately trying to spruce it up with some greens. :P

  8. I love caramel fish and chicken would be good too. I learned a similar recipe from a chef in Vietnam and we do it with tofu too! :)

  9. not just the kids, i thitnk aunty jessie wants to fight for them too!

  10. HI Yen,
    Saw Zoe cooked this lovely caramel chicken too.
    You uses chicken breast to cook this, i bet they are as delicious as they look :D


Please drop any comments or questions you may have here. Thank you so much for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...