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Sesame Chicken

June 20th, 2009

sesame_chicken_1But Rayne!  What do we put on the Fried Rice?

I knew you’d ask me that.  🙂

So I figured I’d start you off with something simple.  Sesame chicken is one of the easiest Chinese recipes I’ve found to date.  Much like my Boneless Buffalo Wings, it consists of three easy steps.  Marinate, fry, toss.

The hardest part of this recipe is toasting the sesame seeds.  I don’t do it.  They’re so tiny and expensive.  I’m petrified of burning them.  So, I throw them on without toasting them.  It tastes different but good.

Occasionally, you can find already toasted sesame seeds at one of the big box stores we all love so much.  I’m lazy and hate searching end caps and displays.  If it doesn’t catch my eye while I’m passing it, it doesn’t get bought.  I actually save a lot of money that way.  There’s stuff on end caps I only buy when I see it.  Stuff I really don’t need, rarely ever use, don’t even think about until I see it on the end cap.

If you live in a decent-sized city, and not the  burbs (or the tundra, for that matter), there’s probably at least two Asian markets within ten blocks of your house.  Here, there are probably six in a five block radius.  People tend to let their eyes glaze over when they see small stores in cities.  We assume they’re just some little Mom and Pop store selling Roses and we’ll have to look into the eyes of some crack head asking for seventy-five cents for a loosie.

They are Mom and Pop stores.  But they sell some of the best spices and ingredients you could ever hope to buy.  The big box stores can’t even hope to compete.  And you won’t go to Hell for buying a crack head a cigarette.  Promise.

Marinade:

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cooking wine (or your favorite wine)
A few drops sesame oil
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 Teaspoon baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon vegetable oil (I usually use [[EVOO]])

Sauce:

1/2 Cup water
1 Cup chicken broth
1/8 Cup vinegar
1/4 Cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Teaspoon Chile paste
1 Clove garlic minced
1 Cup granulated sugar

Three whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Toasted sesame seeds

For marinade:  Mix all marinade ingredients together until smooth.

Trim and chop chicken breasts into bite-sized (or whatever size you prefer) pieces and toss in marinade.  Cover and place in fridge for twenty minutes.

For sauce:  Pour water, chicken broth and vinegar into a small saucepan.  Stir in cornstarch until smooth.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil, Chile paste, minced garlic and sugar.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and keep warm while frying chicken.

In a deep fryer, fry chicken and drain on a plate lined in paper towels.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Pour sauce over chicken and toss.

To serve:  After scooping chicken onto plate, shake sesame seeds over the top.

We almost always use a chicken bouillon cube dissolved in a cup of water in place of the chicken broth.  There’s more than one cup of chicken broth in a can and we can’t see wasting it.  We rarely ever cook anything that calls for it so the leftover would go to waste.

There are different kinds of soy sauce.  Master and I just grab whatever’s cheapest.  If there’s a difference, we haven’t noticed it.

I need to go looking for a recipe to make my own Chile paste because I have yet to find it.  Of course, there are a couple Asian markets I haven’t checked out up the road.  Maybe that’ll be my next venture.  In the meantime, I just chop up some Chile peppers and toss ’em in.  I’m sure it changes the flavor.  But it’s good, nonetheless.

We’ve experimented with apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar.  The apple cider vinegar seemed to taste the best.

The cooking wine we use is just a cheap bottle of cooking wine from one of the big box stores.  But we’ve used a cheap red wine before.  Honestly?  The cheap cooking wine was better.

Toasting sesame seeds really only takes a couple seconds in a skillet.  You don’t even need oil.  Depending on your pans, you might need a light spritzing of Pam or something.  I don’t do well with things that happen that fast.  I was born to be an Italian chef, where everything takes for-e-ver.  I’m learning but it’s slow-going.  Flash cooking just does not come easy for me, apparently.

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