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Seared Sweet Potatoes with Vietnamese Caramel Sauce, Rice + Broccoli

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
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Let Your Friends Try This Recipe!

Why we love it:

This caramel sauce hits all of the notes - sweet, savory, tangy and just a little salty, too. It’s wonderful on veggies but the original version is to braise a pork shoulder with this sauce.


  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 114 cups Water
  • 34 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (use tamari for GF)
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 112 pounds Sweet Potato
  • 1 teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 1 pound Broccoli

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. RICE

    Bring the rice and water to a boil with a ½ teaspoon salt. Stir well then turn down to low heat and cover tightly. Steam for 17 minutes, then lift the lid and stir. Cover and let sit until you’re ready to eat.


    *Boiling sugar is the hottest thing in your kitchen and you do NOT want to touch it. Keep kids far away from this step*

    In a heavy bottomed pot, place the sugar over medium high heat. Take a moment to spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Let it cook without stir for about 3 - 5 minutes or until it begins melting (use this time to measure out the soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar all together in a measuring cup). At this point, stop doing anything else and stand near the caramel.

    Carefully, pick up the pan and gently swirl it a few times to get any dry sugar to start melting. Once it’s all liquid, turn the heat to medium and set the timer for 3 minutes. Let it boil, swirling the pan every 30 seconds or so.

    When the timer goes off, turn off the heat, step back and pour in the soy sauce and other liquids. The caramel will sizzle and boil, just let it do its thing. When the sizzling stops, return to medium heat and now you can use a rubber spatula to stir and combine everything. Melt in the butter and once it’s all together you can set it aside off the heat.


    Scrub skins - or peel them for this dish. Slice into rounds that are about ⅓” thick. Place in a shallow pot with a few Tablespoons of water. Cover and set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until they’re mostly tender and water has evaporated (keep your eyes on it because if the water evaporates sooner, you’ll need to add more or add butter).

    At this point, remove the lid and add butter or oil and start to sauté the pieces. Add the caramel sauce over top and simmer for about 3 - 5 minutes or until golden brown and potatoes are tender throughout but not falling apart. They’ll be nicely glazed as well.


    While sweet potatoes are cooking, separate broccoli into florets and slice the tender parts of stems into rounds (or save stems for broccoli cheddar soup - we have that recipe!). Steam the florets in a stovetop or microwave steamer until just tender.

  • 5. SERVING

    Serve the rice, topped with the sweet potatoes and broccoli on the side. Spoon the caramel sauce over top to taste.

Check out our new features!


    don’t forget to use tamari instead of regular soy sauce
    just omit the butter, you can use 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or nothing
    search for the version of this recipe with fish
    if you don’t eat it, look for Annie’s Vegan Fish Sauce or use 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
    adding shiitakes, tempeh cubes or tofu would be a good way to add more protein if you’re concerned
  • RICE:
    noodles, quinoa, or grain of choice
    the sauce is reminiscent of teriyaki so they might try this. As usual, you can serve theirs without sauce and let them dip instead of seeing it coated. Try with firm tofu or a protein they’ll love. Serve with rice and veggies that you know are a win

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Steam the rice
  2. Prep the broccoli florets but don’t steam them
  3. Make the caramel sauce
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