Sweet, salty, a bit spicy, loaded with texture and color… Well, I can be describing a hundred different dishes with those words but it’s just not wise to get overly dramatic nor romantic in describing a dish so simple and so good, and just end up with a description that does not even begin to approximate what the dish really is all about.
What is sesame chicken? It is battered chicken fillets tossed in a thick sticky sauce then dusted with toasted sesame seeds. From what I’ve read, it’s not exactly authentic Chinese but it is definitely authentic Chinese American.
Speedy and the girls all love sesame chicken. The first time Sam saw the dish, she knit her brows and commented that it’s just sweet and sour chicken. I told her it isn’t. She ate a piece and the crease between the brows was instantly gone. And the sesame chicken was gone not long after.
Recipe: Chinese sesame chicken
- 8 chicken thigh fillets (skin on or off — your choice), cut into strips about half an inch wide and two inches long)
- about 2 c. of vegetable cooking oil
For the marinade:
- 1 tbsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. of salt
- 1 tbsp. of oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. of grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp. of grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp. of pepper
- 1 tsp. of sesame seed oil
For the batter:
- about 3/4 c. of tapioca or corn starch
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1/4 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. of baking powder
For the sauce:
- 1/4 c. of honey
- 1/8 c. of rice wine
- 2 tsps. of soy sauce
- 2 tbsps. of oyster sauce
- 1 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped (or use chili sauce or flakes)
- 1/2 tsp. of grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp. of grated ginger
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- about 2 tbsps. of toasted sesame seeds
- finely sliced scallions
- Wipe the chicken strips dry with paper towels.
- Place the chicken strips in a bowl. Add all the marinating ingredients. Mix. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the sauce. Put all the sauce ingredients, except the sesame seed oil, in a small sauce pan. Boil, lower the heat to medium and cook gently until thickened, about five minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings, if needed. Drizzle in the sesame seed oil. Stir. Set aside.
- Make the batter by mixing together all the batter ingredients. Pour in enough water, tablespoonful by tablespoonful, so that the batter takes on the consistency of pancake batter.
- Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. To test if the oil is hot enough, pour in half a teaspoonful of the batter into the oil. If the batter does not float within ten seconds, the oil isn’t hot enough. If the batter burns within a few seconds, the oil is too hot.
- Dip each chicken strip in the batter and fry. Do this in batches, seven to twelve pieces per batch depending on the diameter of your pan, so that they don’t bump into each other and to make sure that the temperature of the oil does not drop too much. The chicken strips should cook in about three to four minutes, at which time, the batter should be lightly browned. For even browning, turn the chicken pieces over after the first two minutes. Scoop out the chicken strips as they cook and drain on a stack of paper towels. Fry the next batch, and so on, until all the chicken strips are done.
- Pour off the cooking oil from the wok or frying pan. Wipe the pan with kitchen paper if brown bits are stuck at the bottom.
- Pour the sauce into the pan and reheat gently. Turn off the heat. Dump the chicken strips into the sauce, followed by the sesame seeds, and toss quickly to coat each piece with sauce and sesame seeds.
- Scoop out the chicken and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle the scallions on top and serve.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4