What is sesame chicken? Sweet, salty, spicy and loaded with color and texture, sesame chicken 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 I cooked the dish, Sam hadn’t turned vegetarian yet. She knit her brows and commented that it’s just sweet and sour chicken. I told her it wasn’t. She ate a piece and the crease between the brows was instantly gone. And the sesame chicken was gone not long after.
- 8 chicken thigh fillets (skin on or off — your choice), cut into strips about half an inch wide and two inches long)
- Sesame chicken marinade (recipe below)
- Sesame chicken batter (recipe below)
- 2 cups vegetable cooking oil
- Sesame chicken sauce (recipe below)
- 2 teaspoons 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.
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.
Sesame Chicken Marinade
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
Whisk together until smooth.
Sesame Chicken Batter
- 3/4 cup tapioca starch or corn or potato starch
- 1 egg white beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Whisk everything together.
Pour in enough water, tablespoonful by tablespoonful, so that the batter takes on the consistency of pancake batter.
Sesame Chicken 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.