Vietnamese Roasted Chicken (Ga Ro Ti)

March 24, 2008 | Chuck
Vietnamese Roasted Chicken (Ga Ro Ti)

Growing up in Allentown, PA, my family would take trips down to Washington, DC to visit my great aunt and uncle. As an active kid, I always dreaded going down to DC because I had to spend most of the time cooped up inside my great aunt and uncle's apartment. The highlights of the trips were the amazing home cooked Vietnamese meals prepared by my great aunt. Her roasted chicken (ga ro ti) and sticky rice were my favorite dishes.

It's been over two decades since I had ga ro ti. I never see it at restaurants (at least in San Francisco), as most Viet places serve grilled chicken (ga nuong) with five spice. So last week, I decided to make Vietnamese roasted chicken. I called up my parents to get advice. Unfortunately, neither of my parents make the dish and my great aunt passed away several years ago. My dad said, "marinate it in soy, fish sauce, garlic and a little sugar" every other Viet dish, not much help there. I was on my own with this one.

I remember my great aunt pan fried her chicken low and slow. I believe this "roasting" method was used because traditional ovens weren't available in Vietnam back in the day, unless you were wealthy. My great aunt's chicken had an extra crispy skin and the meat was shreddable by hand, almost like a confit. To get this texture, the chicken needs to be cooked longer than normal.

I tried the pan frying technique and produced a good ga ro ti, but it required a lot of time and flipping of the chicken (props to my great aunt!). I debated covering the chicken, but was afraid the skin would get soft from the moist heat. Next, I tried browning the chicken in an oven-proof skillet and then finishing it off in the oven. I liked this method best. It produced a nice crispy skin and I didn't have to stand by the stove top. If you are thinking, why don't you skip the pan frying and just roast it in the oven, then my answer is... I have more control over browning with a skillet and the brown bits in the pan can be de-glazed to make a flavorful dirty sticky rice with scallions.

Hungry Bear and I enjoyed the ga ro ti so much, we made it again for Sunday night dinner along with the dirty sticky rice, stir-fried hollow greens and a light carrot cake for dessert. The chicken had a nice salty, garlicky flavor with a crackling skin. I never eat all of my chicken skin. I usually try a little and then pass the rest to Jane, who likes everything full fat. But the skin on this roasted chicken was so good, I wasn't sharing it with anyone! The perfect complement to the chicken was the dirty sticky rice, which has scallions and all the wonderful flavors from the de-glazed frying pan!

My great aunt's ga ro ti will always be number one in my heart. I may not have re-created her roasted chicken exactly, but I got pretty damn close!

SNDsters: Jane, Mark, Hungry Bear, Chuck

Vietnamese Roasted Chicken (Ga Ro Ti) with Sticky Rice

Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Recipe (Ga Ro Ti)

SND Note: Bone-in, skin-on dark chicken meat is highly recommended for the best flavor. We prefer the use of chicken thighs. Boneless, skinless thighs can be used, but you'll miss out on the best part, the extra crispy skin. Frying the chicken in the skillet allows for better control of browning and the ability to make dirty sticky rice from the fond, the dark brown bits left in the skillet. Larger chicken pieces require up to 24 hours of marinating for the best flavor.

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Trim excess skin and visible fat from chicken thighs using kitchen shears; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce and oil until well combined. Stir in garlic. Add the chicken thighs and evenly distribute the marinade between the thighs. For extra flavor, stuff a little garlic and marinade under the skin. Cover and marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge.
  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350°F. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick, oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet skin side down, reduce heat to medium and fry until the skin is deep golden brown, about 6 - 8 minutes. Flip chicken and brown other side for 2-3 minutes; set chicken aside. Don't overcrowd chicken during browning; work in batches if necessary.
  4. Drain rendered fat from pan and remove any burnt garlic; leaving a thin film of oil in the skillet. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up and place into oven. Roast chicken for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the thighs. To check for doneness, poke the chicken with a knife; the juices should run clear (bone-in thighs 170°F internal temp, boneless thighs 165°F internal temp). Remove chicken from skillet and serve with dirty sticky rice.

Makes 4 servings with sticky rice

Dirty Sticky Rice with Scallions Recipe

SND Note: After roasting the chicken, the skillet should be full of tasty brown bits and caramelized marinade. By de-glazing the pan with the scallions and chicken stock, a lot of wonderful flavor is added to the sticky rice.

  • 6 cups cooked sweet/glutinous rice (3 cups uncooked rice)
  • 10-12 green onions/scallions (white and green parts), sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. After roasting the chicken, drain rendered fat from the skillet, leaving a thin coating of grease. Place skillet on burner over medium heat. Add green onions and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. De-glaze skillet by adding a splash of chicken stock and heat through, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add cooked sticky rice to pan. Using two wooden spoons, fold the scallions evenly into rice. The rice should be a light brown color filled with scallions and de-glazed chicken and garlic bits.

Makes 4-6 servings

[tags]vietnamese, roasted, chicken, thighs, ga ro ti,  garlic, easy, sticky rice, sweet rice, scallions[/tags]

66 Comments on “Vietnamese Roasted Chicken (Ga Ro Ti)”

  1. Wow – this is destined to become a favorite in my home.

  2. I love Vietnamese food! This chicken looks so delicious. I love fish sauce so I was instantly drawn to this dish. I’m going to make it this weekend!

  3. You should come down here. I can think of at least three restaurants in Little Saigon that all serve super crispy ga ro ti. :)

    My mom makes this with a 5 spice marinade and Cornish game hens. I love eating the crispy skin.

  4. that looks intensely wonderful – i’ll be trying this soon. plus, sticky rice, yum!

  5. Oh, I am trying the chicken recipe this week. If I were served that in a restaurant, I’d be thrilled.

  6. Both the chicken and the rice look amazing. I love braised Vietnamese chicken, so I can’t wait to try this.

  7. Chuck said:

    lifeinrecipes, Eat Me Outta Here, Michelle, Lydia, AppetiteforChina, if any of you make the chicken, let me know how it turns out.

    WC, I was just talking to a friend in Irvine about having to visit Little Saigon! I almost put five spice in the marinade, but decided to keep the flavors simple. The cornish game hens sound good!

  8. Nilmandra said:

    That looks and sounds gorgeous. It’s quite similar to the Chinese roast chicken that I make, using rice wine, honey, light and dark soy sauces, garlic and 5 spice powder; no fish sauce. I agree that chicken legs are best for this, and definitely browning in a pan before going into the oven is the best way to get the crispy skin. I should try your version some time, thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. Christine said:

    Like WC, I’m all for the 5 spice in this recipe but I think you’re on to something with pan-searing it first before oven-roasting. I remember watching Ming Tsai do the same thing for one of his roast chicken recipes. I’ve tried it too and it does give the chicken a nice, deep golden color and very crispy skin.

    On a slightly random note, one of my friends has a fancy fire pit in his backyard and I’m seriously considering making it into a real rotisserie for ga roti. Now, if I can just find a clockwork spit…

  10. dj said:

    Do you actually have a recipe for the “sweet/glutinous” rice and, if so, would you mind posting it? I can’t seem to find it on your tags or in your archives. It would be really helpful here. This looks like a gorgeous recipe.

  11. Chuck said:

    dj, we use a rice cooker to make glutinous rice, but here are two other methods to make sweet rice…

    Stove-top pot method

    Steamer method

    The pot method is easier and faster.

  12. Helen said:

    I just made this last night, both the chicken and dirty rice (I did not alter the recipe at all). Really fantastic and not difficult to make. Much more flavorful than I expected. OMG, the rice was sooo good too. Thank you. This is going into my permanent binder for repeat recipes.

  13. dj said:

    Chuck, thanks so much! I prefer the stove-top pot method too, by the looks of it. One last (perhaps stupid) question: should the rice be prepared the day ahead and then chilled until use, similar to how one might do fried rice? Or can it be used with this recipe right after the rice has been cooked?

    Thanks again. This blog has become daily reading for me, and I’m swimming through all of your archives, as well!

  14. Crystal said:

    My Mom makes her own version that’s very similar, I can never tell what her proportions are though for the ingredients. She pan roasts the chicken as well but she covers the chicken in the beginning and then sears the skin in a heavy pan at the end to make it cripsy instead of sticking it in the oven. Don’t know if that’ll work but we generally eat it with tomato rice. Really good still…

  15. Chuck said:

    Helen, yay! I’m really happy it’s going into your repeat recipe binder!

    dj, freshly cooked rice is best. It’s much easier to fold in the scallions when the rice is fresh and warm.

    Crystal, I’ll have to try your mom’s technique next time. I don’t think I’ve ever had tomato rice… shallots, tomatoes, sugar, fish sauce and jasmine rice?

  16. Chuck, I made your chicken today. It was outstanding and really so easy. I could eat this once a week no problem.

  17. Buffmom said:

    I am making this now and the house smells of garlic and….


    I already tasted the rice, so good…

  18. Mary said:

    I can’t wait to make this dish and the sticky rice sounds so yummy. I am always looking for another way to make chicken & rice. This is a great alternative to just the regular old bland jasmine rice and I will try grilling the chicken since it is easier for us. Also, I have a version similar to yours but mine is with orange juice, mirin, and sake, no
    a friend just send me your link and I am looking forward to cooking w/ your recipes.

  19. I was eying this recipe and showed it to my boyfriend. He ended up making it for me this weekend! Keep in mind that he does not cook at all! He told me he eyeballed the amounts so I was a little worried. But it came out so awesomely good! So good that if he keeps making this dish for me I will fall in love with him! He couldn’t find sticky rice in a small bag so he used Thai jasmine rice instead and threw in some cilantro with the scallions! It was lick my fingers, fall in love with you good! I’m going to get him to guest post on my blog! Thanks for the recipe!

  20. I think I want to try this in my Ronco rotisserie oven to see if I can cut the fat.
    But there will be no yummy flavored sticky rice!

  21. I hope you don’t mind I linked your post on my site! =)

  22. I just ate! This roast chicken looks so darn good.


  23. Zoe said:

    Found you today through Tamarind and Thyme, and thought I’d give this a spin for dinner. Didn’t alter anything with the chicken but only managed to marinade for a couple of hours, and I added a bunch of sad wilted basil to the green onions for the dirty rice which worked really well.

    The food and your instructions were excellent – definitely a keeper. My boyfriend’s asking if we can have it again soon, and our little kitchen here in London smells great, thanks Chuck! You’re on my RSS feed now :-)

  24. Karen said:

    I made the chicken for Mother’s Day and it was a big hit. My family didn’t know what the flavors were but they totally enjoyed it. Even my dad who, for some reason, is “no longer a fan of chicken” (?!!!). He told me that he took some of the leftover chicken to work for lunch and raved about how good it was to his co-workers.

    I made it with coconut jamine rice. We also had steamed broccoli with hoisin sauce and I made a coconut lime cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert.

    Everything was great, mostly because of the chicken recipe. Thanks so much. I will be making it again and again.

  25. Jessica said:

    Hello, ventured upon your blog while seaching for recipe and cooking blog that teach people how to cook. Yes, I’m a cooking dummie but a hopeless addict to tasty foods!! I actually tried cooking your recipe and it turned out sooooo good all thanks to your detailed explanation!! I also took some picture of my attempt to re-create your masterpiece and wrote about you on my flickr site. Feel free to visit and comment.

  26. Cassandra said:

    I think I am in love with you, or this recipe, I have yet to decide.
    I’m making it now, with some slight tweaks, or substitutes I should say, and I am using a crockpot.

    thank you so much for sharing this!

  27. Trish said:

    Yummmmmmmmmy! I’ve made the chicken several times , always a hit!

  28. edna lewis said:

    This is a keeper. The skin wasn’t as crisp as I would like (my fault) and I reduced the leftover marinade and served over brown rice. However, I forgot the scallions which would have cut the sweetness of the sauce just a tad. I checked around for other ga ro ti recipes yet liked this one because the proportions of ingredients are simple enough that I can make this again w/o consultation.

    This really was great; simple yet very tasty. Even better: one pan to clean.

  29. Steve said:

    Absolutely AWESOME!!! A recipe that will go in my favorites file. The only thing I changed was to hand shred the chicken and mix with the dirty sticky rice. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us!!!

  30. Cynthia said:

    I made this meal and it was outstanding! Thank you. You can see my post on it here:

  31. Deeba said:

    Got here from Cynthia’s & am loving it. Got to wake the kids up for school…but will be back soon. Great place you got here!! Cheers Deeba

  32. keren said:

    this is delicious. excellent dish. if you like to simplify and still get great flavor (also healthier) skip the frying part.
    marinate the chicken as suggested. Instead of regular oil use seasame oil (gives it even more “oriental” falvor) and just roast in the oven 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, tastes delicious and less fatening, less work too.

  33. Christine said:

    Oh I love ga ro ti! Thanks for the recipe. If you’re ever feigning for some cheap roti chicken in SF, check out the Singaporean restaurant Limetree, even my Vietnamese parents love it! Kien Giang in San Jose also serves authentic roti.

  34. Hello Kitty said:

    Hi there! Thank you for sharing this recipe. My parents were impressed with the chicken that I made. Your instructions were awesome. Hello Kitty from Irvine, CA.

  35. Lan said:

    like WC’s mother my me. used to make it with 5 spice seasoning and cornish hens as well. answer me this: would we have nice results if we put it in a toaster oven that has a rotating spit?

  36. Hoa said:

    hey! im trying this recipe for the first time and I was wondering is there an alternative recipe or directions if I marinade the chicken for less time like an hour?

    Thanks for any help!

  37. Chuck said:

    Hi Hoa, for the most flavor I’d recommend marinating it for as long as you can. If you’re really short on time, I’d poke holes in the chicken with a knife to get the marinade to absorb more. I hope that helps.

  38. Hoa said:

    Thank you so much Chuck!!! The ga roti turned out pretty good even though I only managed to let the chicken marinade for 2 hours. =) haah and my parents do the same thing with the ‘some soy sauce, alittle bit of sugar, alittle bit of salt, pepper…etc’

  39. Sarah said:

    Hi Chuck – I ordered Ga Ro Ti at the local restaurant over the weekend and was so disappointed. Your recipe showed up first on the google search result list. The ingredients were so simple that I had to try. Bought the chicken thighs and marinated them last night. I normally use the following ingredients for my chicken marinate: lemon grass, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, dried chilli flakes, pepper. I can’t wait to try yours tonight.

  40. Sarah said:

    Very good Ga Ro Ti, much better from the restaurant. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  41. I tried this yesterday and it was wonderful. I served it with coconut rice. Next time I think I might add a little ginger and salt it more. Fabulous recipe. It’s a keeper!

  42. WOW, WOW, and WOW! HEAVENLY!!

  43. Jonathan said:

    This is a great way to make chicken, nice simple recipe! I often add ginger slices to the marinade, too, and sometimes lime juice. It’s great grilled, as well.

  44. Pam said:

    This looks so, so good. Is it possible to make it ahead of time? Or do you have to serve it right away?

  45. Jen said:

    This was so yummy. The flavour is amazing. However, my skin wasn’t as crispy because I don’t think I have a skillet that goes from stovetop to oven, so I used a large enameled dutch oven, and I think the high sides kept the skin from crisping up. Chuck, I noticed in your pictures that a non-stick skillet was used. I thought those definitely couldn’t go in the oven, but could you please let me know what brand your skillet is – or does anyone else have any suggestions as to what I could use? Also, since I had to brown my chicken in two batches, there were a lot of burnt bits already after the first batch, and made it a little difficult to brown the second batch properly. Did anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? And Chuck – I had a hard time cooking the sticky rice from the recommended stove-top method – I do have a rice cooker, so I was wondering how you cook the sticky rice in it? Thanks!

    To Pam: I wouldn’t recommend making it ahead of time. I find the skin gets un-crispy the longer you let it sit.

  46. Mi said:

    Oh MY GOSH!!! This recipe was THE BEST ever!!! It reminded me of my own Vietnamese mother’s cooking. I never thought I could make vietnamese food until now! I loved this recipe SO much, I shared it with my sister. My husband loved it so much he wanted me to make it again in the same week.
    Thank-you for sharing!!

  47. Ben said:

    Thanks for posting this!

    There’s a Vietnamese sandwich joint here in Chicago that sells roast thighs with the leg attached on top of a bed of rice with picked carrots and radishes and a sweet dipping sauce.

    I was jonesing for it and wanted to try to make some facsimile at home and stumbled on this recipe.

    Made it along with Nuoc Cham (apologies if such a pairing is blasphemy). It was pretty close to what I was hoping for, and terrifically toothsome.

    Thanks again.

  48. Mary said:

    Wow! This was delicious! I followed your recipe exactly, except I had to put the chicken in a metal roasting pan, as my frying pan could not fit all of the chicken I made. I left the chicken in the marinade overnight, and the flavor was excellent.

    Thank you so much for posting this! I served it with white rice (I was too lazy to make the dirty rice) I think next time I might serve it on a bed of rice noodles, and make some nuoc mam cham (spelling?) to pour over it. Yummy! : 0

  49. renate said:

    Wow – this was so easy to make and so delicious! This is definitely going to be a regular family dinner!

  50. Sue said:

    I made this for lunch and it was delicious! I did make a couple changes, but that’s because my husband doesn’t like fish sauce. So I just used all soy sauce and added a tablespoon of ginger paste. I slow roasted the chicken thighs. I didn’t have sticky rice, so I used sushi rice instead. Everything was so simple to make and delicious. Thanks!

  51. Jen said:

    Just an update on how I finally made the chicken skin crispy. I did end up buying a non-stick frying pan that is oven friendly, but it wasn’t big enough to fit all my chicken (turns out that 5 regular drumsticks and 4 medium thighs is exactly 2.5 lbs). So I pan fried the chicken in two batches in this non-stick pan (making sure to drain as much marinade/garlic off first), then baked the chicken on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. I poured off the oil and any brown bits (not burnt bits though) into a small bowl, and wiped down the pan to get rid of those black bits. After the chicken was cooked with perfectly crispy skin, I put it on an oven-proof plate and back in the turned-off oven to keep warm. Then I put some of that reserved oil back in the frying pan, started cooking the green onions, then added the leftover marinade, and the brown bits from the tinfoil (taking care to not put in too much oil from the tinfoil otherwise the rice gets greasy), 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock, and let it cook a little more before folding in the sticky rice. Didn’t require any additional salt or pepper.
    P.S., found this recipe for making perfect sticky rice!

  52. Thi said:

    Vietnamese cooking doesn’t ever have five spices or oyster sauce. These ingredients are Chinese cooking. So it is the right thing that you don’t add those. It is more authentic this way. Living in the East Coast I could hardly find our authentic Vietnamese cooking. The restaurant here tend to mix all kind of ingredient that not originally in the recipe… it is rather disappointing…

  53. Ally said:

    This is a delicious recipe! I’ve made this over and over and everyone loves it!

  54. I don’t even know the way I finished up here, however I assumed this post used to be good. I don’t recognise who you’re but certainly you are going to a famous blogger in the event you are not already. Cheers!

  55. Wendy said:

    I love this recipe! The first time I made it I used brown rice. The second time I followed the sticky rice recipe given in the comment section. Timing was off, so next time I will be sure to start the rice first and start the chicken once the rice has hit high boiling. My non stick pan did not pick up a lot of the chicken bits and garlic, so my rice didn’t absorb those flavors. I served my dinner with Maggi seasoning. Family loved it, and I will make this again, Thank you for posting.


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