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Sesame chicken is a Chinese-inspired recipe that’s sweet, sticky, and packed full of flavor. So easy to make, you simply coat the chicken in batter, deep fry until crispy, and smother in a homemade sesame chicken sauce.
SESAME CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
You will need:
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 ½ tablespoons of sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon of garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon of ginger paste
- ⅓ cup of soy sauce, light
- ½ cup of rice vinegar
- ¾ cup of light brown sugar
- ½ cup of water
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
FOR THE OPTIONAL TOPPING
- 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
- 3 green onions, finely sliced
- 3 cups of cooked white rice
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
Chicken Breasts: Chicken thighs would also work well for this recipe for sesame chicken.
Brown Sugar: You could replace this with a half cup of honey to make honey sesame chicken if you wish.
Rice Vinegar: If you don’t have this, then you could use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar instead.
Cornstarch: You could replace this with arrowroot, or flour would also work in a pinch.
Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you could use whole milk with two tablespoons of lemon juice added.
Toasted Sesame Seeds: These are optional, so leave them out if needed
HOW TO MAKE THIS SESAME CHICKEN RECIPE
STEP ONE: In a small saucepan, saute the ginger and garlic paste in sesame oil for one to two minutes.
STEP TWO: Stir the cornstarch into the half cup of water.
STEP THREE: To the saucepan, add the cornstarch mixture, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes.
STEP FOUR: Simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, for about ten minutes or until the sauce thickens to a syrupy consistency. Remove from the heat.
STEP FIVE: While the sauce is simmering, fill a stockpot or deep frying pan with two or three inches of oil. Affix a food thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. This will take about ten minutes.
STEP SIX: While the oil is heating, whisk together the salt, pepper, and flour in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk into a second bowl.
STEP SEVEN: Dip each piece of chicken into the flour mixture, into the buttermilk, and then back into the flour mixture. Set aside.
STEP EIGHT: When the oil is hot, fry the chicken in batches. Add five to eight pieces of battered chicken to the hot oil at a time, frying for two minutes on each side. Drain the oil back into the pan, and place the fried chicken onto a few paper towels to soak up any excess.
PRO TIP: Ensure that the oil maintains a temperature of 350°F. If you add too much chicken at once, it will cool the oil and the chicken will become greasy. If the oil becomes too hot, the outside of the chicken will burn.
STEP NINE: When all of the chicken has finished cooking, transfer it to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the top and toss to coat evenly.
PRO TIP: Check that the sauce is still hot. If not, warm it on the stovetop for a few minutes before tossing it with the chicken.
STEP TEN: Serve over rice immediately then garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.
IN THE FRIDGE: You can store cooked sesame chicken in sauce in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container. Heat thoroughly on the stovetop or in the microwave.
IN THE FREEZER: If you plan to make sesame chicken freeze, we suggest freezing the cooked chicken separately from the sauce and tossing it together after reheating.
If you love crispy chicken, we think you’ll agree that this is the best sesame chicken recipe that’s most similar to the takeout version. However, deep-fried battered chicken can be quite calorie-heavy. To make a skinny version of this Chinese-style sesame chicken, consider skipping the batter and stir-frying the chicken in just a couple of tablespoons of olive oil before coating it with the sauce.
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FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp ginger paste
- 1/3 cup soy sauce lite
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes crushed
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 4 chicken breast boneless, skinless, and diced into approximately 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- vegetable or peanut oil for frying
FOR THE OPTIONAL TOPPING
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 3 green onions finely sliced
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- In a small saucepan, saute ginger and garlic paste in sesame oil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Stir 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch into the ½ cup of water.
- Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch/water mixture, and red pepper flakes to the saucepan.
- Simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until sauce thickens to a syrup consistency. This will take approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Fill a deep stockpot/Dutch oven or frying pan with 2 to 3 inches of oil.
- Affix a food thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. This will take about 10 minutes to reach the desired temperature.
- While the oil is heating, prepare the battered chicken. Whisk together the salt, pepper, and flour in a bowl. Then pour the buttermilk into a second bowl.
- Working with just a few pieces of chicken at a time, dip each piece of chicken into the flour mixture to coat it. Then, dip it into the buttermilk. Finally, dip it back into the flour mixture and set it on a separate plate.
- When the oil has reached 350 degrees F, batch cook the chicken. Add 5 to 8 pieces of battered chicken to the hot oil at a time, frying for about 2 minutes and then flipping them over to cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.
- When the chicken is uniformly golden brown, remove it from the oil, draining the excess oil back into the pan, and placing the fried chicken onto a few paper towels to absorb any additional oil.
- Continue batch cooking the chicken, ensuring that the oil maintains a fairly constant temperature of 350 degrees F. TIP: If too much chicken is added at one time, the oil will probably cool down too quickly. If the oil becomes too hot, the chicken will burn.
- When all of the chicken has finished cooking, transfer it to a large bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the top and toss to coat evenly.
- Serve over rice immediately then garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.