Sesame Chicken, how I love you!
Ever since I had to become one of the dreaded Gluten Free People, I thought my days of decadent Chinese carry-out were over.
Well, they sort of are over but they’ve happily been replaced with decadent but healthy (and easily Gluten Free) Chinese carry-out favorites at cooked at home.
Behold…homemade Sesame Chicken.
And here’s the interesting part, even if you’re not gluten free, you make this dish almost the same way. Rather than breading the chicken with flour, this Sesame Chicken uses corn starch for the coating.
I can tell you that this has quickly become a favorite around here.
Here’s what you need:
Chicken Thighs, Egg, Corn Starch, Vegetable Oil, Garlic, Ginger, Brown Sugar, Tamari or Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar (not pictured), Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds, Green Onions, Salt & Pepper.
Timing Note: If you want to serve this with rice, be sure to start cooking the rice FIRST so it will be ready when your quick and easy Sesame Chicken is done.
As I mentioned, rather than a thick flour breading, our Sesame Chicken uses a corn starch based batter. This is similar to what you would make for Japanese tempura or batter fried veggies.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 egg with 2 Tablespoons of corn starch.
Add a pinch of salt if you like (I don’t) and some freshly ground black pepper.
Use a whisk to combine until liquid and very smooth. This will take just a minute to get going and be a gloppy mess until the corn starch starts to dissolve in the egg.
I have about 1½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Trim off any excess fat and cut the chicken thighs into small, bite-sized cubes.
Keep these fairly small, about 1-inch, so that they cook quickly.
Place the cubed chicken thighs in the egg/corn starch coating and toss to combine.
We all know the secret to the delicious carry-out sesame chicken is that good, sticky sauce.
You will not believe how easy this is to concoct in your own kitchen!
In a small bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon water, 1½ Tablespoons rice vinegar.
Add 1½ Tablespoons brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon corn starch.
Tamari vs. Soy Sauce…. Even if you’re not gluten free, did you know that most soy sauce is made with soy and wheat?
Tamari, however is the Japanese version of soy sauce that is made from miso and is not diluted with wheat. It has a richer and less salty taste than soy sauce. You can find regular and low soduim varieties of tamari in most regular grocery stores. Even though I switched because I am gluten free now, I think tamari has a much better flavor. Give it a try and see what you think. It’s great for dipping!
Use a microplane to finely grate a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger into the sauce. Use the same grater or microplane to finely grate 1 clove of garlic rather than chopping it.
To make the sesame flavor pop, add 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil (a little goes a long way) and 2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds.
Give the sauce a quick whisk or stir and set aside.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil until it is quite hot and shimmering on the surface of the oil.
Pour the chicken and egg mixture into the pan. Give it a quick stir as it starts to cook so that the pieces of chicken stay separate rather than cooking into a weird chicken frittata/omelet thing.
Stir the chicken very gently and only occasionally so you don’t knock the breading off.
Even with some gentle stirring, you might have to use your spatula to break the chicken pieces apart as they cook.
Cook about 7-10 minutes until deliciously golden and cooked through.
Add the sesame sauce to the pan and IMMEDIATELY remove it from the heat. The sauce will thicken and coat the chicken right away.
(Also, don’t be me…go find your non-stick tongs or spatula so you don’t scratch your skillet.)
Serve the Sesame Chicken over a bed of rice and garnish with a few chopped green onion tops.
The first time I made this I made some quick sautéed baby bok choy as a side. The last time, I steamed some sugar snap peas in the microwave. Broccoli would be good too.
I needed to add something green so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the entire pan of sesame chicken in one sitting!
This makes 4 modest servings which is probably enough if you have veggies. In the future, I will probably increase the chicken to 2 pounds and double the sauce since I’m a sauce loving kinda girl.
This is ridiculously good. Kiss that salty, greasy carry-out stuff goodbye!
Here’s the recipe: Adapted from Budget Bytes