Sesame Chicken

Sesame chicken

 

Sesame Chicken is a Chinese American take out classic. And to be honest, who doesn’t love it? Usually crispy deep fried and served with a sweet sour “Chinese” sauce. The one problem is it is usually pretty greasy and probably deep fried in industrial quality polyunsaturated oil.

However, as a home cook you do have better options. Sauteing or frying using a good quality cooking oil can make all the difference. Undeniably, for high heat cooking, a raw or pure coconut oil is your best option. It is a saturated fat oil that is stable at high temperatures and healthy as well. Other good choices would be olive oil or avocado oil. A tip; refrigerating your oil will preserve the integrity and flavor of the oil.

I don’t know about you, but I never deep fry anything in my kitchen. Searing in a saute pan or skillet is a better and healthier cooking choice with nearly identical results, using much less oil, and avoiding the dilemma of filtering the deep fry oil and storage.

That said, the air fryers that are now appearing in cooking shops are indeed tempting! Who doesn’t love french fries, and those I’ve tasted from an air fryer are pretty darn good. Never say never!

There are a gazillion sesame chicken recipes out there, but here is a healthier version up for grabs.

 

Sesame Chicken: serves 4

Best to prepare the sauce and set aside before cooking the chicken.

Sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup very finely diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated young ginger + juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang), or cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or Szechuan)
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice flour (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cold water

In a saucepan combine the stock, onion, garlic, ginger, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

Stir together the rice flour and water until smooth. Slowly pour the rice flour mixture into the simmering sauce and stir continuously until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Chicken:

  • 3 large skinless boneless chicken breasts (about1 ½ pounds), cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup rice flour (or cornstarch)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • coconut oil
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds (see here)
  • chopped green onions for garnish (optional

Set up the bowl of whisked eggs and the rice flour with salt in a wide platter near the stove.

Pat the chicken pieces dry using paper towels. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture to coat and transfer to the rice flour, tossing to evenly coat the chicken. Set aside briefly on a platter.

Place a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add several tablespoons coconut oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom.

Once the oil is very hot add some of the chicken pieces to the skillet, allowing a little space between each piece. Cook for 1 minute. Turn the chicken and cook 1 minute, then turn the chicken once again and cook until nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel lined platter while you continue cooking the remaining chicken in batches. If additional oil is needed for the next batch, be sure to let the oil get very hot before proceeding with the cooking.

Transfer all the cooked chicken to a bowl and toss with enough sauce to coat the chicken pieces evenly, reserving the remaining sauce to serve at the table. Sprinkle about ¾ of the sesame seeds over the chicken and toss to evenly coat the chicken pieces.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds and chopped green onions, if using. Serve with additional sauce placed on the table.

As pictured, served with white rice topped with dark brown rice.

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