Vietnamese Ga Kho – An Authentic, Healthy Chicken Recipe

Gather round, my dear friends and food-lovers. Today, I have a hidden gem of a recipe to share with you all – the Vietnamese Ginger Chicken, or Ga Kho as the locals call it. This dish is a classic Vietnamese braised ginger chicken dish that is the perfect combination of sweet, salty and spicy. Trust me, once you take a bite of this caramelized ginger chicken, there’s no going back.

As a chef who specializes in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I can assure you that this dish is not only easy to make but also very authentic. In fact, it’s a popular street food in Vietnam that is cooked in households for weeknight dinners or served at restaurants as part of wedding banquets.

This recipe uses simple ingredients such as fresh ginger, scallions, black pepper and fish sauce, along with chicken pieces gently simmered in a caramelized sauce made from brown sugar and fish sauce. That’s right! It’s the ultimate combination of umami flavors with a tinge of ginger.

So are you ready to add another delicious meal to your weekly rotation? Let’s get started on making this Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho).

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho)
Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho)

Folks, let me tell you why you’ll absolutely love this Vietnamese ginger chicken recipe! It’s a classic Vietnamese dish called “Ga Kho,” which translates to caramelized chicken. The unique blend of ingredients and cooking methods will have you licking your fingers and craving for more!

Firstly, the dish consists of succulent pieces of chicken coated in a rich and savory ginger-infused sauce that is simultaneously sweet and salty. The sauce is made with brown sugar, fish sauce, fresh ginger, scallion, and black pepper, creating an authentic Vietnamese flavor that is impossible to resist.

Secondly, the preparation method for this dish is slightly different from the traditional stir fry or grill methods. You’ll braise the chicken pieces in the sauce until they become tender and juicy. This cooking technique allows the meat to absorb all the flavors of the sauce, making every bite incredibly enjoyable.

Lastly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can use boneless chicken breast or thigh meat for a quick and easy meal, or switch it up with drumsticks or wings for an exciting appetizer. Also, the recipe includes substitution notes so you can tailor it to your preference.

In summary, what’s not to love about this recipe? It’s an easy-to-make yet authentic Vietnamese dish that is perfect for any occasion. The sweet and savory flavors will tantalize your taste buds while the braised chicken pieces will melt in your mouth. Give this recipe a try today and you won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 Ginger is the star of this Ga Kho dish!
Ginger is the star of this Ga Kho dish!

To make this Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (also known as “Ga Kho Gung” or “Kho Gung Vietnam“), you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken: You can use chicken thighs, drumsticks, or breasts, bone-in or boneless. Cut them into bite-sized pieces for maximum flavor.
  • Fresh ginger: peeled and finely chopped or minced. This ingredient gives the dish its signature aroma and taste.
  • Scallions: thinly sliced, both green and white parts. They add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
  • Fish sauce: commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine, it adds a salty and savory flavor to the dish.
  • Sugar: to balance out the saltiness of the fish sauce and enhance the caramelization process.
  • Black pepper: freshly ground for some heat and depth of flavor.
  • Chicken stock: to create a rich and flavorful sauce that coats the chicken pieces.
  • Vegetable oil: for cooking the chicken and ginger.

Note that some recipes may also call for additional ingredients such as garlic, shallots, chili flakes, or lemongrass. Feel free to experiment with variations to suit your taste preferences.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to fall in love with the aroma of ginger and caramelized chicken.
Get ready to fall in love with the aroma of ginger and caramelized chicken.

Now, it’s time to get started on the most interesting part of this recipe – the cooking process. Let me walk you through step by step how to make this Vietnamese Ginger Chicken that will definitely make your taste buds dance with joy!

Preparing the Ingredients

Before we start cooking, let’s gather all the ingredients and prepare them accordingly:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken drumsticks, bone-in and skin-on.
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced scallions for garnish

For The Ginger Paste:

  • 2 inches of peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce

To prepare the ginger paste, combine all the above mentioned ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the drumsticks skin side down and cook for about five minutes or until golden brown.

Step 2: Now it’s time to add the ginger paste – coat the chicken pieces evenly using a spatula while moving them around in the pan. Cook for another five minutes.

Step 3: Add chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar, black pepper, and bring it to a boil.

Step 4: Reduce heat to medium-low and let it cook for another twenty-five to thirty minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, and a caramelized sauce forms.

Step 5: Serve hot over steamed rice with scallions as garnish.

Tips for Perfect Results

  • Ensure that your skillet is hot before adding any ingredients; this will help keep the chicken from sticking to the pan.
  • The skin on the chicken adds an extra layer of flavor and helps keep the meat moist throughout cooking.
  • When caramelizing the sauce, make sure you stir frequently to prevent it from burning.
  • If you prefer boneless chicken pieces, you can use chicken breast or thigh instead of drumsticks.

Now that we’ve gone through the recipe in detail, it’s your turn to give it a go! Try this Vietnamese Ginger Chicken recipe at home today and see how much your family enjoys it.

Substitutions and Variations

 Golden-brown, crispy skin and juicy chicken is a match made in heaven.
Golden-brown, crispy skin and juicy chicken is a match made in heaven.

Now, if you’re like me, you love to experiment with new ingredients and tweak recipes to fit your taste preferences. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to get creative with this recipe!

First off, let’s talk about the protein. While this Ginger Chicken recipe calls for chicken pieces – thighs and drumsticks – you can easily swap it out for chicken breasts or even try shrimp or tofu for a vegetarian twist. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly based on your protein choice.

If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your dish, consider throwing in some bell peppers, onions, or snap peas. Not only will this add extra flavor and texture, but it’s also a great way to bump up the nutritional value of your meal.

Now let’s talk about the sauce. The classic Vietnamese caramel sauce used in this recipe is made with a combination of sugar and fish sauce, but you could always experiment with different sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. You could even try adding a little heat with some chili flakes or Sriracha sauce.

And finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try serving this Ginger Chicken over a bed of rice noodles instead of white rice? This will give the dish a lighter feel while adding another layer of texture and flavor.

Remember, cooking is all about having fun and making it your own – so don’t be afraid to experiment and find new ways to elevate this classic Vietnamese dish!

Serving and Pairing

 This dish will transport you straight to the streets of Vietnam.
This dish will transport you straight to the streets of Vietnam.

Now that your mouth is watering and your stomach is growling, it’s time to think about serving and pairing this aromatic and hearty dish.

When serving Vietnamese Ginger Chicken, it’s traditional to place a generous helping of the caramel sauce on top of the chicken and sprinkle some freshly sliced scallions on top for color and extra flavor. This combination of sweet caramel and tangy scallions makes for a winning flavor profile that’ll have you coming back for seconds.

Pairing options are also plentiful, as the flavors in this dish pair well with numerous sides and beverages. Steamed rice is a classic accompaniment that’ll help to balance out the flavors and create a satisfying meal. Bok choy or stir-fry vegetables would also make for great sides that’ll add some extra nutrition to your meal.

As far as drinks go, you can’t go wrong with a cold beer or a glass of crisp white wine to cut through the richness of the caramelized sauce. However, if you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, try pairing with iced green tea or a refreshing soda like ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair this Vietnamese Ginger Chicken, one thing is certain: you won’t walk away from the table hungry or disappointed!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The balance of salty and sweet flavors make for a perfect bite every time.
The balance of salty and sweet flavors make for a perfect bite every time.

Now that you’ve made the delicious Vietnamese ginger chicken, you might find yourself with leftovers or find that you need to prepare it in advance for a future meal. Here are some tips for make-ahead, storing, and reheating the dish.


If you want to make this dish in advance, I recommend cooking the chicken until it’s about 80% done. Once cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to serve, finish cooking on medium heat until it’s caramelized and cooked through.


Store any leftover Vietnamese ginger chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Make sure to separate the sauce from the chicken so it doesn’t get too soggy. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to three months.


To reheat, place the chicken in a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of water or chicken stock. Stir constantly for five to seven minutes until heated through. Alternatively, microwave the chicken on high heat for 1-2 minutes in a microwave-safe dish.

Pro Tip:

Don’t overcook the chicken when reheating as it will become dry and tough. Add a splash of water or broth to keep it moist while heating up.

By following these easy tips, your leftover Vietnamese ginger chicken will taste just as good as when you first made it!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Spice up your dinner game with this easy and flavorful recipe.
Spice up your dinner game with this easy and flavorful recipe.

Now that we have gone through the ingredient list and the recipe how-to, let me give you some tips for perfect results for your Vietnamese Ginger Chicken.

First and foremost, use fresh ginger. The spiciness of ginger is what makes this dish stand out. Grate the ginger with a microplane to get a fine texture to ensure it blends well with the sauce.

Adding scallions during cooking not only enhances the flavor but also adds a pop of color to the dish. Slice them thinly and add them towards the end of cooking to keep them slightly crunchy.

To get a good caramelization on your chicken, make sure your pan is hot before adding the chicken pieces. This will help seal in the juices and add a crispy texture to your chicken.

When simmering the chicken in the sauce, cover it with a lid to trap in all of the flavors. You may need to adjust the heat level to ensure it’s not boiling too fiercely.

For those who are watching their sugar intake, you can substitute brown sugar with coconut sugar or honey. Keep in mind that this might alter the color of your caramel sauce.

If you find that your sauce is too thin, remove the chicken from the pan and simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes until it thickens up.

Lastly, garnish with some freshly chopped cilantro leaves or Thai basil for added flavor and aroma.

I hope these tips will help you achieve perfect results for your Vietnamese Ginger Chicken dish!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking to add some variety and flavor to your menu, Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho) should be the dish you reach for. With its succulent chicken pieces caramelized in a sauce made with fish sauce, black pepper, sugar, fresh ginger, and scallions, it’s sure to be a hit at the dinner table. Even better, this recipe is easy to make and can be adjusted to suit personal preferences by adding vegetables or varying the type of meat used.

So why wait? Get cooking and experience the richness of Vietnamese cuisine with this classic dish. And don’t forget to share it with family and friends – it’s sure to impress! By using the right ingredients and following the tips and tricks provided in this recipe article, you’ll be able to make a perfect Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho) every time.

Thank you for joining me on this culinary journey through Vietnamese cuisine. I hope this recipe has inspired you to try out other traditional dishes as well. Remember, food brings people together and helps us explore new cultures – so let’s keep cooking and sharing!

Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho)

Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho) Recipe

This is a basic Vietnamese dish that can be made with any type of meat and most seafood, the variation comes in pairing the protein with the herb or spice. For example, chicken or fish is paired with ginger, shrimp or pork is paired with green onions, and beef with garlic. It is often served with steamed rice, and a couple of other dishes and a soup for family dinners. All dishes are served at the same time. However, soup is usually the last dish you eat, to "wash down" your meal.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 395.6 kcal


  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken, any part, chopped into about 2-inch pieces, I prefer thighs bone in and skin, I chop each thigh into
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon scallion (green part only, chopped into 1/4-inch pices) (optional)


  • Heat a heavy saucepan on medium high for about a minute until pan is hot, add sugar and turn heat down to medium. Caramelize sugar for about 1 minute. Keep a close watch to make sure sugar is brown, but not burnt.
  • Add ginger and stir for about 10 seconds.
  • Add remaining ingredients except scallions. Turn the pieces and brown the chicken for about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until liquid in the pan is reduced to half. Sauce should be brown and thick. About 10 minutes if you're using boned in whole thighs. If you're using boneless, skinless chicken the cooking time is reduced to about 6 minutes. Over cooking will make the meat tough.
  • Garnish with scallion and serve with steamed rice.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 187gCalories: 395.6kcalCarbohydrates: 7.3gProtein: 32.1gFat: 25.6gSaturated Fat: 7.3gCholesterol: 127.6mgSodium: 649.5mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 6.6g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Chicken, Chicken Breast, Chicken Thigh & Leg, Easy, High In..., High Protein, Meat, Poultry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You