Super Bowl XLV is around the corner and I’m still in festive Chinese New Year mode. Time to shift gears from Lunar New Year festival food to Super Bowl Party fare. I think most would agree that half the fun of watching the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl party….everyone loves a spread of appetizers and finger foods. Like most, I’m a fan of sticky chicken wings when watching a bowl game but sometimes find the standard Buffalo wings too cloying. My favorite chicken wings recipe is Vietnamese-inspired and is a wonderful combination of sweet and savory. The wings are seared and then braised in a fish sauce based caramel sauce with ginger and black pepper. It’s a simple make ahead recipe that braises in the oven until tender and tastes even better the next day. Be sure to add this recipe to your collection of Superbowl party favorites…it promises to be a crowd pleaser.

Caramelized Chicken Wings, Vietnam

Makes 4 servings


3 lbs chicken wings or drumettes
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Caramel sauce*

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce


3 (1 inch) pieces of fresh ginger, finely sliced


To make the caramel sauce, combine 1 tablespoon of water, fish sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Heat a small deep saucepan with the ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and lemon juice over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and increase the heat to high. Let the sugar come to a vigorous boil, swirling the pan occasionally until the sugar turns light caramel in color, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and carefully pour the fish sauce mixture into the hot sugar. Stir until the bubbles subside.

To braise the chicken, preheat an oven to 350°F. Heat a dutch oven or a clay pot on the stove top, over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add 2 tablespoons oil and sear the chicken wings until golden brown on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the wings to a bowl and pour off all the oil leaving 1 tablespoon in the pan.

Reheat the pan to medium and saute the shallots, ginger and garlic until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with black pepper and the stir the caramel sauce into the aromatics. Reduce the heat to low and return the chicken to the caramel sauce, cover with a tight lid and place the chicken in the oven and braise for 30 minutes. Carefully turn the wings over with tongs after 15 minutes. Cover and braise for another 15 minutes. To serve, garnish the chicken with finely sliced ginger and serve on a warm platter or with rice.

*Cook’s Note: Make the caramel sauce in advance and store in your fridge for up to one week.