This is one of our very popular dinner party meals and serves 4. Preparation and cooking time is approximately 45 minutes.
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Thai red chiles, chopped, or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
One 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 3-by-1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 spring onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 coriander sprigs, cut into 1-inch lengths
In a small heavy saucepan, cook 2 tablespoons of the sugar over moderate heat until bubbling and beginning to brown around the edges, 4 minutes. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup of the hot water and simmer for 3 minutes to dissolve the caramel. Remove from the heat.
Heat the oil in a medium Chinese clay pot or in a casserole. Add the chiles, garlic and half of the ginger and stir-fry over moderate heat until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the chicken, fish sauce, salt and the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir until the chicken turns white, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion wedges, the remaining 1/4 cup of hot water and the caramel sauce and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the spring onions and cook for 3 minutes longer. Stir in the remaining ginger and remove the pot from the heat.
Garnish with the coriander and serve.