Sesame Chicken Recipe: An Easy Weeknight Recipe
Sesame chicken is one of those classic recipes that continually sets the tone for comfort food. It’s crispy, sweet, savory, and goes great with a steaming bowl of rice.
This dish has minimal prep time and only a few ingredients – you probably have most of them in your pantry or fridge already. Not only that, it’s fun to make, too!
Sesame chicken is a great dish to cook together as a family or with a group of friends. With that in mind, let’s add this classic takeout craving to our recipe book so we can enjoy one of our favorite dishes.
What Ingredients Do I Need To Make Sesame Chicken?
Frying up some chicken for this recipe is relatively easy to do. And you probably already have most of these ingredients at home.
The first thing you’ll need is chicken breasts or thighs. If you prefer darker meat, you can use chicken thighs. Before you begin, you need to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
To do this, get a kitchen knife that is not serrated and make sure that you do your best to cut against the grain of the chicken. This will help to keep the pieces nice and tender and keep each piece from falling apart. Use a sharp knife to get through the chicken in one clean slice.
Eggs, Flour, and Cornstarch
Next, you’re going to need a large egg or two, flour, and cornstarch. Start with the egg wash. Simply crack some eggs into a dish, and whisk them up. The eggs will act as a binding agent that makes for a thick, crispy coating on the outside of your chicken.
Next, start your flour bath. Combine flour and cornstarch into a separate bowl, keeping them separate from the eggs. This will become a crispy breading that is the highlight of sesame chicken.
Salt and Pepper
You’ll need to add salt and pepper to season your flour mixture. Keep in mind that the sauce does contain soy sauce, so you won’t need too much. A dash of salt and pepper will do the trick.
Lastly, you’re going to need some frying oil to cook the chicken in. Make sure that you get oil that is specifically used for frying.
You’re going to need a neutral oil that can handle the high heat, such as canola oil, peanut oil, or sesame oil. It’s important that you don’t use a non-neutral oil like olive oil or coconut oil. These oils will add flavors to your chicken that you might not want in your sesame chicken.
In addition, olive oil has a lower smoke point, so it will burn if you put it to high heat.
What Ingredients Do I Need To Make the Sauce?
The sauce is a combination of low sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, honey, ketchup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ketchup and takes just minutes to put together. You can even make the sauce a day or two in advance, then store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
Basics: Vegetable Oil and Cornstarch
Most sauces are going to have some type of oil and some cornstarch. The oil helps bind everything together and gives the sauce a good texture. And the cornstarch will act as a thickening agent to help the sauce stick to the chicken – packing all the flavors for a rich umami zing.
Seasonings: Garlic, Honey, Brown Sugar
The dominant flavors in the sesame sauce are a few cloves of garlic, a few tablespoons of honey, and brown sugar. The honey-and-brown sugar combo provides a complex, deep sweetness that contrasts with the light chicken.
It works to provide a new layer to the umami masked in a rich, sweet taste. You can even incorporate some fresh ginger for a little more flavor.
The garlic will provide a nice balance. It acts as the bridge between the dark sweetness of these ingredients and the bright, tangy condiments we’ll talk about in a second. Garlic has a pleasant acidity and, when cooked, has a delicious sweet taste to it.
Condiments: Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Ketchup, Sesame Oil
Rice vinegar will ramp up the acidity on this sauce a lot, which is a good thing! The acidity rounds off the powerful seasonings and unifies the sauce.
Soy sauce provides a beautiful dark color, but also rich umami flavor and beautiful saltiness that just works with everything, and the ketchup brings in a little extra acidity and sweetness.
And of course, we have to add the sesame oil – It’s sesame chicken after all! Sesame oil adds a nuttiness and toastiness that completes the flavor of this dish.
Optional Add-Ins: Sesame Seeds and Scallions
The sesame seeds, in particular, provide a nice white contrast to the deep brown color of the sauce, and they signify that it is, in fact, sesame chicken.
Scallions can go right in the sauce and deliver a hint of onion-like flavor, or go as a garnish for a nice green pop of color.
The Cooking Process
Now it’s time to just put all the ingredients together and then serve your delicious sesame chicken with a healthy serving of rice and a side of veggies. This is a great meal that is well rounded in carbohydrates, protein, fats, and nutrients.
Dip Chicken Into Egg Wash and Flour, Then Fry
This recipe starts with pieces of chicken that are coated in eggs, flour, and cornstarch. Make sure each piece is completely coated in egg wash, and then immediately transfer those pieces to the flour mixture.
Make sure that every last little bit of the chicken is covered by flour. This will give the chicken an even layer once it is fried to golden brown crispy perfection.
After that’s done, it’s time to fry.
A wok is best for frying, but any deep, large skillet will work great. Fill a pan with your frying oil, and put the stove on medium-high heat. The oil must reach 350 degrees F before you begin cooking your chicken.
Place the chicken pieces in the oil, making sure to drop the pieces so that, if oil were to splash, it would splash away from you. If you’re shallow frying your chicken, make sure you flip the pieces halfway through. You’ll know it’s time to flip once the bottoms turn golden brown.
Place Cooked Chicken on Paper Towels To Drain Oil
Once the chicken is golden brown, carefully remove the chicken from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain the oil.
After letting the chicken cool, you can double fry the chicken if you like it to be extra crispy. Simply place your cooked chicken back in the hot oil for about a minute to give it an extra crispy crunch.
Cook Sauce In a Pan Until It Thickens
Next, place all of the sauce ingredients in a pan together, except for the cornstarch. Stir to mix them together, and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens. If you’re having trouble getting the sauce to be thick, add corn starch. Just a half teaspoon at a time to slowly thicken the sauce.
Toss Chicken in the Sauce
After your sauce is cooked, take your cooked chicken and pour it into the pan with the sauce. Toss the pieces until they are thoroughly coated in the sauce, and then remove the pan from the heat.
Now it’s time to partake in your culinary creation! Serve your sesame chicken up with a bowl of rice or some lo mein. Compliment it with some steamed broccoli or carrots. Then top it off with sesame seeds and green onions, then serve.
The Bottom Line
This sesame chicken recipe is full of flavor but incredibly easy to make at home. So hit the kitchen and whip up some sesame chicken for a delicious night of savory sweetness!
And if you need any Asian groceries delivered to your door, Umamicart can help. They have a wide selection of groceries that can help you make sesame chicken along with so many other savory Asian dishes.