Better Than Takeout Sesame Chicken
I few weeks ago I shared two Chinese takeout-inspired dishes with you, today I’m back at it! Not has my orange chicken and sweet and sour chicken been huge hits at our house, but they’ve been exploding on Pinterest too! I love that 🙂 One of my all-time favorite Chinese “chicken” dishes is sesame chicken. I love the flavor of the sauce, the tenderness of the chicken and all of those crunchy little seeds. It’s the best! But I’ve always been really afraid to make it at home (like most Chinese food), fearing that I’d end up incredibly disappointed & with a sink full of dirty dishes. After making this recipe I can honestly say there’s no reason not to make it at home! This recipe is so simple and tastes 100x better than takeout!
So let’s get started, shall we? First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, lightly spray a 9×13 inch glass pan, set aside. Why? Well, we’re baking the chicken after it has been fried to help thicken the sauce and make the chicken extra tender. It’s a step I HIGHLY recommend, as it helps tenderize the chicken and thick up the sauce. It’s like watching magic happen right before your very eyes. Next, make the sauce- in a medium size mixing bowl (or a 2 c. measuring cup), whisk together the chicken broth, honey, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, garlic powder and ground ginger. Yes, all of these ingredients are necessary, don’t omit any of them! Set the mixture aside and chop up your chicken into 1″ cubes.
It’s really important to make sure that both your chicken and eggs are at room temperature. Frying with cold ingredients is not only dangerous but can result in tough stringy meat. Dip the cubed chicken into the eggs, then place into a ziplock bag (taking care to remove any excess egg) along with 1 c. of cornstarch. If you like tempura-style chicken, you can add a little bit of baking powder to the cornstarch to create extra pillowy little chicken nuggets- it’s totally optional. Place in the chicken (in batches) into the hot vegetable oil (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven) and fry for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place into a paper towel lined plate to drain. When all of your chicken has been fried, place it into the prepared baking dish.
Stir the 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and the 1 tbsp. of water together to create a “slurry.” Pour over the chicken tossing gently to coat. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 or so to keep the chicken coated and to prevent sticking. I think I baked mine a little too long, as my sauce was really thick and sticky. You want a little of it to still be on the bottom of the pan as it will thicken as it cools. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds. I prefer mine toasted, but raw will work too 🙂
We served our chicken up with a side of rice and stir-fried vegetables. Stephen, who never likes sesame chicken said this was his favorite of the three I’ve made!!! That blew me away! We both really love it! And like I’ve mentioned before, the pictures don’t quite do it justice (Chinese food is incredibly difficult to photograph!!!) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. I hope you’ll give this better than takeout sesame chicken at try, you’re going to love it!!!
- 1¼ c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- ½ tsp. red chili paste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca flour + 1 tbsp. water
- For the chicken:
- 1½ lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
- 1 c. cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 c. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. raw or toasted sesame seeds
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly spray a 9x13 inch glass pan, set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl (or a 2 c. measuring cup), whisk together the chicken broth, honey, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, garlic powder and ground ginger, set aside.
- Place the cubes of chicken into a bowl with the whisked eggs, toss the chicken (taking care to let the egg drip off it) into a large ziplock bag full of the cornstarch. Zip and shake until evenly coated.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Working in batches (3-4), add the chicken and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the fried chicken to the prepared 9x13 pan. Whisk together a slurry of 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of water, add to the sauce and then pour over the chicken. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds, serve immediately. Garnish with slices of green onion if desired.
Recipe source: Life Made Simple