Vietnamese Caramel Beef & Cashews for #ImprovCooking

Welcome to #ImprovCookingChallenge. Find our group on Facebook if you're interested in joining in the fun; Nicole from Cookaholic Wife hosts our group! 

Today we're sharing recipes with caramel and cashews! This recipe might not be what you'd traditionally think of as caramel - but I read through a few different recipes and can see where the name came from. 

In one of the recipes you create a caramel with water and brown sugar, and then simmer the cooked meat into that, along with the other ingredients. This particular recipe tones down the brown sugar quite a bit, but I am definitely curious to try it the other way as well - I can see that deep sweetness being a wonderful contrast to the salty and umami flavors with the soy, fish sauce, etc. 

This was definitely a delicious meal, and one I am very glad I had the chance to search and discover thanks to this group! 

Improv Cooking Challenge

Caramel & Cashew

Vietnamese Caramel Beef & Cashews

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup diced carrot
1 tsp ground ginger
1 TBS minced garlic
1/2 cup roasted salted cashew pieces
4 cups cooked rice
salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce Ingredients
1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper (less or omit if you are concerned about the heat level)
1 TBS lime juice

  1. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat and add the ground beef, onions, and carrots. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the ginger and stir to combine. Stir occasionally, breaking up the meat and getting some color on the vegetables until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. 
  2. When everything is cooked, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute longer until fragrant.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl or large measuring cup, whisking to blend evenly.
  4. Pour sauce ingredients over the meat and vegetables and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer and thicken for about a minute or two. Add in the cashews.
  5. Taste, and adjust seasonings as preferred.
  6. Serve over the hot cooked rice.
Recipe adapted from My Recipes


  1. This dish look so colorful and delicious, must have tasted great with the addition of caramel.

  2. I love that someone else went savory! It looks absolutely delicious.

  3. Love that you and Jules went savory with this. Both of these dishes sound wonderful.

  4. Flavor profile sounds amazing and this is one hearty meal!


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