Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken
    At the Slanted Door in San Francisco, chef Charles Phan’s spectacular
    Vietnamese specialties include this intensely sweet and savory peppered chicken.
    ½ cup dark-brown sugar
              about ¼ cup Asian fish sauce
    ¼ cup water
    3 tbsp rice vinegar
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
    1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
    2 fresh Thai chilies, halved, or dried red chilies
    1 tbsp canola oil
    1 shallot, thinly sliced
    1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
    4 cilantro sprigs

    In small bowl, combine sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper,
    chilies. Heat canola oil in large, deep skillet. Add shallot; cook over moderate heat
    until softened, about 4 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken; simmer over high
    heat until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl;
    garnish with cilantro, serve. Serves 4.