Sesame Chicken

This is part two of my Asian series.  My first one was Asian Salad with Marinated Flank Steak along with my personal favorite Asian Salad Dressing.  Today is Sesame Chicken day!  This is probably the first Chinese dish I perfected.  I had a specific taste in mind when I started working on it and it probably took me six trys to  get it like I wanted!  Now I have it down to a science.  This Sesame Chicken is both sweet with honey and savory with the soy sauce or tamari and the sauce is thick enough to stick to the chicken.

One difference between traditional Chinese sesame chicken and mine is I don’t bread the chicken and deep fry it.  It is our personal preference to saute’ the chicken pieces instead of frying it.  Plus it’s WAY easier, faster and a bit healthier.  However if you want breaded chicken, you can certainly do that and pour this same sauce over it.  I LOVE this sauce!

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Here’s how I make it.

Sesame Chicken

Making the sauce:

Sesame Chicken

I always make the sauce first so it can simmer for a bit while I’m dicing and cooking the chicken.  (Actually, I put on a pot of rice first then make the sauce…)

In a small pot, heat the peanut or vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the finely diced onion or shallot.  Saute’ until the onions are tender.  Don’t let them turn brown, that creates a bitter taste.  Just want them to be tender.  About 2-3 minutes.

Sesame Chicken

Pour in the honey (shown already in the pot) and then pour in the soy or tamari sauce.

So, what is the difference between soy sauce and tamari sauce?  Here’s the short answer.  Soy sauce is made from soy beans, some kind of wheat, water and salt.  Tamari is made from soy beans, water and salt which makes it gluten free.  If you’re on a gluten free diet, you should always use tamari sauce.

Sesame Chicken

Add the sesame oil and…

Sesame Chicken

Sherry cooking wine.

Sesame Chicken

Then add the garlic and ketchup.  Ketchup?  Really?  Yes, Ketchup.

I have to admit, I saw ketchup as an ingredient that was so_not_Chinese.  In fact, I hunted all over for the “real” ingredients that this American condiment took the place of.  Well, I’ve learned something interesting since I’ve started cooking Asian/Chinese dishes.  Ketchup is not as American as I thought!  After reading multiple articles and explanations about the origin of ketchup, I discovered it probably originated in CHINA!  Really?  I was in disbelief.  So, yes, it is common to find ketchup as an ingredient in Asian/Chinese cooking.

So, add that Chinese/Cantonese/Fujian sauce known as Ketchup/Catsup to the pot.  Bring it to a boil and cook on low for 5 minutes.

If you like heat in your Chinese dishes like we do, add some crushed red pepper flakes at this point too.  I’ve even added a minced jalapeno instead!

Sesame Chicken

In a small bowl, mix together water and cornstarch until it’s dissolved.

Sesame Chicken

Add the water and cornstarch mixture to the boiling sauce, stirring constantly to prevent lumping.

Sesame Chicken

Now you have a nice thick sweet sesame sauce.  I could just drink it!  I don’t, but I do lick the spoon.

Sesame Chicken

Cut the chicken breast or tenders into 1 inch pieces.

In a wok or large skillet, heat a little peanut or vegetable oil over high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and saute’ until there is no longer pink inside.  This takes about 3-4 minutes, turning the pieces every minute or so.  If there is still liquid in the pan when the chicken is cooked, drain that off.  Sometimes I find that to be the case.

Sesame Chicken

Pour the sesame sauce over the cooked chicken and coat all the pieces.  Bring back to a good bubble and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  This gives the sauce a chance to stick to the chicken and thicken a little more.

 Sesame Chicken

Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.

Sesame Chicken

Add a pot of rice and some steamed broccoli, and you have a nice balanced meal.  Lots of protein, something green and carbs.

Sesame Chicken

Twas delicious!  Has a nice sweet, tangy and savory mouth watering effect.

Sesame Chicken

And it’s pretty.

Do you have a favorite Asian/Chinese sauce you like to put on your chicken?

Look for these other Asian dishes!  As I add these recipes to the blog, I will come back and add the link for easy access.  Asian Salad with Marinated Beef Flank Steak, Asian Salad Dressing, Shrimp Fried Rice, Beef with Broccoli and Snow Peas, Cashew Chicken, Lettuce Wraps and Thai Basil Chicken.

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Here’s the printer friendly recipe.

Sesame Chicken

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings

Sesame Chicken

One difference between traditional Chinese sesame chicken and mine is I don't bread the chicken and deep fry it. It is our personal preference to saute' the chicken pieces instead of frying it. Plus it's WAY easier and a bit healthier.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion or shallot
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sherry cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes, optional
  • 2 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1-2 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • cooked rice

Instructions

  1. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add onions.
  2. Saute' until the onions are tender. About 2-3 minutes
  3. Pour in the honey, soy or tamari sauce, sesame oil, sherry cooking wine, garlic, ketchup and chili flakes.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Mix together the water and cornstarch until it's dissolved.
  6. Pour in the cornstarch mixture into the bubbling sauce to thicken, stirring to prevent lumping.
  7. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1-2 Tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  8. Stir fry the chicken pieces until done. About 3-4 minutes. Drain any excess liquid after chicken is done.
  9. Pour the sesame sauce over the chicken and bring back to a bubble.
  10. Top with sesame seeds and serve over rice.
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