Chicken in Caramel Sauce

Chicken in Caramel Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

The inspiration for this dish that Charles Phan serves at his Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco came from a street cart in Vietnam. It's a good example of the great food that is served from street stands throughout that country.

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dark or regular soy sauce
1 teaspoon slivered ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 small Thai chiles (fresh or dried), broken in half
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless dark-meat chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 pound skinless, boneless white-meat chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
Steamed white rice
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Instructions: Combine the brown sugar, water, fish sauce, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, pepper and chiles in a small bowl. Mix well, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the shallot and sauté until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken and sauté until it is slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by half, about 12 to 20 minutes depending on the pot size. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.