Caramelized Sugar and Fish Sauce Chicken


I love quick and easy recipes that require no thinking…wouldn’t you agree??

I love anything involving caramelizing sugar, so this recipe was a no brainer. It’s slightly sweet, slightly salty, and pairs beautifully with some white rice and papaya salad!


5-6 chicken thighs with skin on and bone in

1 block (59 grams) of palm sugar (may sub for granulated sugar)

3 cloves of chopped garlic

1/4 cup of water

3 Tbsp of fish sauce

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/4 tsp of onion powder

1/4 tsp of msg (optional)

pinch of salt


1. Wash you chicken and then pat them dry with paper towels. Place them into a large, shallow mixing bowl and add in your chopped garlic.
2. In a small separate mixing bowl, add in your water, fish sauce, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and msg (if using). Mix well and then pour this mixture all over your chicken.
3. Coat your chicken with the marinade and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. On medium heat, melt your palm sugar. Make sure you use a heavy bottom skillet or pan, or else your sugar will not caramelize properly. Do not disturb or attempt to stir your palm sugar, until most of it has melted.
5. Give your palm sugar a quick stir, turn up the heat to medium high, and then carefully add in your chicken SKIN SIDE DOWN. Do not add in the juices from the marinade, just yet.
6. Let your chicken cook for about 3 minutes.
7. Add in the juices from your chicken, and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
8. Turn your chicken over, and continue to cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
9. Place your chicken into a baking dish, along with the juices, and bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for about 25-30 minutes. Make sure to baste your chicken at least 2-3 times.
10. Serve immediately with rice and papaya salad! YUM!

NOTES: If you are using white granulated sugar instead of palm sugar, you may need to use a bit of water to get your sugar to caramelize.

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My name is Sav Le and I created Eat Now, Cry Later to show you how fun and easy cooking can be! I'm currently redesigning my blog, so please be patient with me while I get things up and running! You can find more recipes at my other blog:

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9 Responses to “Caramelized Sugar and Fish Sauce Chicken”

  1. SB
    February 22, 2016 at 10:04 PM #

    Hi Sav,

    I made this tonight and it is delist! Thank you so much for posting! Although my chicken skin turned brown and beautiful but didn’t become crispy? Any tips?

    • March 11, 2016 at 11:20 AM #

      Hi! You can try switching the oven to broil (although a low broil temp) to make the skin a bit more crispy, once the chicken is cooked through. Watch it closely though, so you don’t burn the chicken. :)

  2. Minerve
    September 23, 2015 at 2:55 PM #

    Looks great! Can I do this with drumsticks? Thanks!

  3. aaron
    January 29, 2015 at 5:09 AM #

    Used mexican dark brown palm sugar. Daughter said it was best chicken she’s ever eaten!

  4. Sin
    January 11, 2015 at 2:18 PM #

    Hi Sav! If I need to substitute the palm sugar for granulated white sugar, how much white sugar would I use?

    • January 23, 2015 at 1:16 PM #

      I would say anywhere from 2-3 Tablespoons of sugar.

  5. Felicia
    November 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM #

    Hi Sav,
    I tried this recipe yesterday, it was so delicious with sticky rice. Thank you.

    • November 16, 2014 at 9:16 AM #

      Yay! I haven’t tried it with sticky rice yet, but I will now!! Love me some sticky rice! :)

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