Caramel Chicken

Image: Super Food Ideas – August 2011, Page 61. Photography by Mark O’Meara.

Caramelised Chicken or ga kho is a sticky, sweet and spicy Vietnamese dish. And, before you get freaked out by the words Caramel and Chicken appearing alongside each other, it is savoury caramel rather than a sweet caramel. So don’t worry you won’t be tucking into a bowl of Jersey Caramels with a side of chicken thigh!

This Vietnamese style savoury caramel sauce weaves together the perfect blend of salty, sweet, sour and spicy by making a caramel using sweet brown sugar, salty fish sauce, sour lime juice and spicy chilies along with some garlic which reduces to a glaze while it cooks, for a full flavour punch. Delicious.

Ingredients – Caramel Chicken

  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 800g chicken thigh fillets –  trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion – thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
  • Steamed rice to serve

Ingredients – Pickled Cucumber

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbss caster sugar
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers – cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 green onion – thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup of cold water


  1. To make the pickled cucumber, place the vinegar, sugar and 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, add cucumber, stir to combine and set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the green onion.
  2. Place the chicken and oil in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat until hot. Add half the chicken and cook for two 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 a little extra peanut oil if needed. Add the onion and garlic and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Return the chicken to the pan, add the soy sauce, chilli flakes and stir to combine.
  4. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 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.
  5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and stir to combine.
  6. Place in a serving dish and serve with steamed rice and pickled cucumber.


15 Minute Monday – Speedy Massaman Beef Curry

Fast and tasty – this speedy massaman beef captures the same spicy, creamy coconut flavours of a slow cooked curry. 


  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 1 large brown onion – halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic – diced
  • 1 medium red chilli – seeds removed and diced
  • 600g beef rump steak – cut into thin strip
  • 150g massaman curry paste
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbs of raw sugar
  • 1 tbs of soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 red capsicum – cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium head of broccoli – cut into florettes
  • 125ml light coconut milk
  • 50ml of water
  • Steamed rice and fresh coiander leaves – to serve


  1. Heat 1/2 the peanut oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli, stir until fragrant and translucent.
  2. Add the beef in batches to brown.
  3. Add the remaining peanut oil, sesame oil and curry paste, stir until fragrant – this will take about 1 minute.
  4. Return the beef and add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir until well coated.
  5. Add the capsicum, broccoli, water and coconut milk. Bring to the simmer and leave to boil for five minutes – this will allow time for the sauce to thicken and vegetables to soften.
  6. Serve with steamed rice and fresh coriander leaves.


15 Minute Monday – Stir Fry Beef and Soba Noodles

Image: Australian Good Taste - August 2006, Page 63. Photography by William Meppem.

Image: Australian Good Taste – August 2006, Page 63. Photography by William Meppem.

Mondays are always busy – whether it’s work or kids everyone always seems to be flat off their feet and the last thing you want to worry about it cooking something healthy and tasty for dinner. Never fear – I will come to the rescue every Monday morning with a tasty, healthy and FAST meal solution the whole family will love.

My first edition of 15 Minute Monday is a staple recipe in our house of stir fry beef, vegetables and soba noodles. For those of you unfamiliar with soba noodles, soba is the Japanese term for buckwheat and simply refer to a thin buckwheat flour noodle. This colourful recipe is packed with healthy veggies and the soba noodles are a great alternative to white wheat noodles and are high in antioxidants, contain all eight essential amino acids and lysine which is lacking in white wheat products.


  • 1 large brown onion – sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 200g of beef rump – cut into strips
  • 1 carrot – cut into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch of broccolini or broccoli – cut into florets
  • 1 tin of baby corn spears – sliced diagonally
  • 1 bok choy – sliced into 2cm pices
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs oyster sauce
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 90g organic dried soba noodles
  • Fresh coriander leaves to serve


  1. Add 1 tbs of peanut oil to a hot pan, over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, cook until tender.
  3. Add the beef and cook to brown.
  4. Add all vegetables and sauces, simmer on a high heat until sauce reduces and thickens.
  5. Meanwhile, cook noodles as per packet instructions.
  6. Toss the noodles through the beef and vegetables.
  7. Top with fresh coriander leaves and serve!