Very simple, but very delicious. You do have to make nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel syrup), but once made, it keeps forever.
Make the nuoc mau:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot water
Set a heavy 9″ skillet over high heat for one minute, then pour in the sugar and reduce heat to medium. Cook the sugar, stirring frequently, until it’s frothy and orange in color. Turn off the heat and stir constantly for another three or four minutes, until the foam has subsided and the syrup is very dark (it will look almost black). Add the hot water and stir, turning the heat back on to low, if necessary, to facilitate mixing, until all the syrup is dissolved in the water. Set the pan aside to cool. When cool, pour into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Nuoc mau will keep indefinitely on the pantry shelf.
6 whole chicken legs (thigh included)
7 medium shallots, peeled
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
3 1/2 T fish sauce
3/4 T nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel syrup)
1/4 tsp salt
Put the shallots and whole black peppercorns in a mortar and mash together. Add the fish sauce, nuoc mau and salt.
Separate the legs from the thighs and prick each piece all over with a metal skewer or sharp fork. Mix the chicken with the marinade, rubbing the marinade in with your fingers to ensure that each piece is coated and the marinade is forced into the chicken. Let sit 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the grill. When the chicken has marinated, grill it directly over the coals for 10 to 15 minutes on each side. The chicken should get slightly singed, but not burnt. Serve while hot.
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