Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Recipes/ Vietnamese

Vietnamese Ginger Chicken Stir Fry – Ga Kho Gung

19/01/2022

An impressive weeknight dinner, Vietnamese Ginger Chicken is THE stir fry to impress friends. Better than takeout, Ga Kho Gung is full of caramelised sticky chicken and sweet ginger piled on a bed of rice, ready in 30 minutes.

Bowl of Ga Kho Gung topped with ginger and fresh chilli.

Why We Love This

This easy Vietnamese ginger chicken recipe is so easy, you can cook it up on a weeknight. Enjoy it as a tasty meal with rice and vegetables, or serve it up with other amazing Vietnamese dishes as part of a home cooked feast. 

Packed with traditional Vietnamese flavours, this ginger chicken stir fry tastes even better the next day, so why not cook up a big batch to enjoy later?

The recipe is super adaptable – add chilli, add vegetables or add even more fresh herbs and spices to really make it your own. We love adding Maggi seasoning sauce, as it’s such a classic condiment used in Vietnamese dishes that enhances the saltiness of the dish. See our Variations section below for even more ideas.

Related: Korean Tteokbokki Stir Fry / Japanese Stir Fried Noodles

Vietnamese ginger chicken pieces stir frying in a large pan.

What is Ga Kho Gung? 

Known as gà kho gừng in Vietnamese and ginger chicken in English, it consists of chicken pieces first stir fried in a golden caramel sauce. They are then braised (sometimes in a covered clay pot) with fresh ginger, lemongrass, shallots and garlic. 

Some more traditional versions of this tasty caramelised ginger chicken recipe are cooked with coconut juice or coconut soda, however for convenience we’ve left that out in today’s recipe.

What You’ll Need

  • Chicken – You’ll most often find this dish made with bone-in chicken pieces, however we prefer to use boneless chicken thighs for convenience. You can also make this with diced chicken breast if you prefer.
  • Seasonings – Salt, ground black pepper, sugar, chicken stock and fish sauce. Traditionally this recipe includes MSG but we prefer to leave it out. Feel free to add in a tsp if you like. 
  • Aromatics – Fresh ginger, shallots, lemongrass, turmeric and garlic will give you the most beautiful zesty flavour, but you can sub with minced, jarred or powdered versions if you need. 
  • Optional Garnishes – Reserve some aromatics, such as fresh ginger and chilli, or fresh spring onion or coriander to serve on top. Not 100% essential, but sure looks amazing on your finished dish!
Ingredients laid out to make ginger braised chicken.

How to make Vietnamese Ginger Chicken:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying over a medium high heat. Add in the shallotsgarlicgingerlemongrass and turmeric. Stir fry for a few minutes until fragrant, then remove from the pan into a small bowl.
  2. Pour in the sugar and water for the caramelisation into the same frying pan over a medium heat. Note: Watch carefully, as it will bubble like crazy and start to turn golden then darker brown. Don’t let it go past this point as it will burn the sugar, giving you a bitter taste to the chicken. 
  3. Place the chicken pieces in at this point and mix around to coat them in the caramelised sauce.
  1. Once the chicken is coated and lightly browned after around 3 minutes, pour your fried aromaticschicken stock powderblack pepper and salt over the chicken and continue to cook for a few more minutes, stirring regularly.
  2. Now it’s time to braise! Pour in the water and fish sauce and bring it up to a boil over a medium high heat. Once bubbling, bring the heat down to a simmer and place a lid over the top. Braise for around 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove the lid, and place the heat back up to medium high to allow the sauce to thicken, stirring and coating the chicken as you go. Give it another 5-10 minutes until the sauce is reduced to how you like it! Add a splash of Maggi seasoning sauce here if you want to add some extra salty magic!
  4. Serve hot with rice and garnish with optional chilli, salt & pepper and leftover ginger pieces.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Go for Quality – Use fresh aromatics if you can, the flavour will be much stronger and fresher than minced or pre-sliced store-bought ingredients.
  • Ginger – Fresh ginger is super easy to peel using a spoon rather than a knife!
  • Caramelised Sauce – Once you’ve stirred the sugar and water together, you can leave it to continue bubbling. It shouldn’t stick if you’re using a non-stick pan.

FAQs

What happens if the sugar syrup turns to toffee on my spatula?

This is completely fine and can happen when the caramelised sauce comes into contact with cooler things like your spatula or the chicken pieces. It will dissolve again once it heaps up, just keep mixing and scraping it off as you go.

Why use chicken thighs?

More tender and juicier than other cuts, we love using boneless chicken thighs as they are so much easier to cook and eat.

I still have lots of liquid left in the pot after 15-20 minutes, what should I do?

Reduce the heat and keep simmering with the lid off until the sauces and seasonings reduce and become glossy, caramelised and sticky.

What should I serve with ginger chicken?

This dish is traditionally served with steamed rice and a small side. It’s amazing served on rice bowls, noodle bowls or alongside a hearty noodle soup. 

You could even make it a banquet alongside crispy banh xeo pancakes, rice paper rolls or a fresh Vietnamese salad.

Variations

  • More Aromatics – Amp up the flavour with finely sliced kaffir / makrut lime leaves or fresh turmeric slices.
  • Protein – Swap the chicken for pork, fish or tofu. You can reduce the cooking time for fish and tofu as they won’t take quite as long to cook through. We haven’t tested these alternatives, so be sure to check as you go. 
  • Add Veggies – Fresh capsicum / bell pepper, bok choy, gai lan or spinach all pair perfectly with this dish!
  • Don’t Want to Caramelise? – If you’re unsure about caramelising, you can swap the sugar and water for honey instead for a similar result.
Holding a piece of ginger chicken with a chopstick.

These Vietnamese dishes are so much better made at home than for take-away:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Caramelised ginger chicken pieces frying in a pan.

Vietnamese Ginger Chicken Stir Fry – Ga Kho Gung

An impressive weeknight dinner, Vietnamese Ginger Chicken is THE stir fry to impress friends. Better than takeout, Ga Kho Gung is full of caramelised sticky chicken and sweet ginger piled on a bed of rice, ready in 30 minutes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 309kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Ingredients

  • 500 g chicken thighs boneless and chopped into chunks
  • 2 shallots chopped finely, sub onion
  • 1 garlic chopped finely
  • 7 cm ginger julienned – save some strips to garnish
  • 4 cm lemongrass white section of the stalk, sliced into rings
  • 1 tsp turmeric fresh chopped finely or ground powder
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder or vegetable stock powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

For the caramelisation

  • 1.5 tbsp sugar 17g / 0.6 oz
  • 1.5 tsp water 5ml / 0.16 fl oz

For the braising

Optional

  • chilli to garnish
  • cooked rice to serve
  • Salt and pepper extra, to taste
  • Maggi seasoning sauce

Instructions

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying over a medium high heat. Add in the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and turmeric. Stir fry for a few minutes until fragrant, then remove from the pan into a small bowl.
    2 shallots, 1 garlic, 7 cm ginger, 4 cm lemongrass, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp turmeric
  • Pour in the sugar and water for the caramelisation into the same frying pan over a medium heat. Note: Watch carefully, as it will bubble like crazy and start to turn golden then darker brown. Don’t let it go past this point as it will burn the sugar, giving you a bitter taste to the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in at this point and mix around to coat them in the caramelised sauce.
    1.5 tbsp sugar, 1.5 tsp water, 500 g chicken thighs
  • Once the chicken is coated and lightly browned after around 3 minutes, pour your fried aromatics, chicken stock powder, black pepper and salt over the chicken and continue to cook for a few more minutes, stirring regularly.
    1 tsp chicken stock powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp salt
  • Now it’s time to braise! Pour in the water and fish sauce and bring it up to a boil over a medium high heat. Once bubbling, bring the heat down to a simmer and place a lid over the top. Braise for around 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
    150 ml water, 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
  • Remove the lid, and place the heat back up to medium high to allow the sauce to thicken, stirring and coating the chicken as you go. Give it another 5-10 minutes until the sauce is reduced to how you like it! Add a splash of Maggi seasoning sauce here if you want to add some extra salty magic!
    Maggi seasoning sauce
  • Serve hot with rice and garnish with optional chilli, salt & pepper and leftover ginger pieces.
    chilli, cooked rice, Salt and pepper

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Chicken – You’ll most often find this dish made with bone-in chicken pieces, however we prefer to use boneless chicken thighs for convenience. You can also use diced chicken breast.
  • Seasonings – Salt, ground black pepper, sugar, chicken stock and fish sauce. Traditionally this recipe includes MSG but we prefer to leave it out. Feel free to add in 1 tsp if you like.
  • Aromatics – Fresh ginger, shallots, lemongrass, turmeric and garlic will give you the most beautiful zesty flavour, but you can sub with minced, jarred or powdered versions if you need.
  • Optional Garnishes – Reserve some aromatics, such as fresh ginger and chilli, or fresh spring onion or coriander to serve on top. Not 100% essential, but sure looks amazing on your finished dish!
  • Go for Quality – Use fresh aromatics if you can, the flavour will be much stronger and fresher than minced or pre-sliced store-bought ingredients.
  • Ginger – Fresh ginger is super easy to peel using a spoon rather than a knife! Watch the technique here.
  • Caramelised Sauce – Once you’ve stirred the sugar and water together, you can leave it to continue bubbling. It shouldn’t stick if you’re using a non-stick pan.
  • Protein – Swap the chicken for pork, fish or tofu. You can reduce the cooking time for fish and tofu as they won’t take quite as long to cook through. We haven’t tested these alternatives, so be sure to check as you go. 
  • Add Veggies – Fresh capsicum / bell pepper, bok choy, gai lan or spinach all pair perfectly with this dish!
  • Don’t Want to Caramelise? If you’re unsure about caramelising, you can swap the sugar and water for honey instead for a similar result.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Vietnamese Ginger Chicken Stir Fry – Ga Kho Gung
Amount per Serving
Calories
309
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
21
g
32
%
Saturated Fat
 
6
g
38
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
9
g
Cholesterol
 
123
mg
41
%
Sodium
 
895
mg
39
%
Potassium
 
351
mg
10
%
Carbohydrates
 
8
g
3
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
21
g
42
%
Vitamin A
 
100
IU
2
%
Vitamin C
 
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
 
24
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Vietnamese Ginger Chicken Stir Fry - Ga Kho Gung

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