“What is in this sesame chicken recipe?” you might ask. Nothing more than bite-size chicken chunks coated in a savory sauce with crunchy toasted sesame seeds on top.
However, it’s not the same as the chicken batches from chain restaurants or street vendors. With this recipe, you get 100% control over what’s going into the dish.
If you’re worried about having double the work making everything at home, worry no more! We promise the familiar taste of sesame chicken is easily achieved with only a few simple steps.
What Is Sesame Chicken?
Sesame chicken is a dish of distinct taste and consistency. It involves a batch of fried chicken and a sauce mixture.
Sesame chicken is made simply with a few basic requirements. The chicken should be juicy and tender, while the coating should be smooth with a silky texture.
In this sesame chicken recipe, chicken takes center stage. Working in the background is the spicy-sweet glaze made of cornstarch, honey, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
Sesame Chicken vs General Tso Chicken
Though having similar features, sesame chicken and General Tso chicken are not the same. Sesame chicken is sweet, savory, and less spicy than General Tso chicken.
While sesame seeds are a must for sesame chicken, they are only one of the toppings in General Tso chicken.
The difference between these two is not so significant, and it’s mainly the sauces that tell them apart. You would need only a few ingredient replacements to turn sesame chicken into General Tso chicken.
Many people also find that sesame chicken sauce is similar to teriyaki sauce. Truth be told, teriyaki chicken is actually sweeter and less nutty as it has no sesame seeds or sesame oil.
We also have a great recipe for teriyaki chicken. Take a look at it to spot more differences if you want… or just enjoy it’s deliciousness!
Is Sesame Chicken Healthy?
At HealthyKitchen101, we strive to create healthier versions of every recipe we come across. Sesame chicken is no exception.
The color and flavor of this dish are amped up by organic and low-sodium ingredients only. Moreover, these basic ingredients can easily be found in your kitchen and very quick to pull together.
One serving of this sesame chicken delivers you 496 calories. If you wish to cut down on the calories, simply skip the coating and omit cornstarch from the sauce.
You’ll get 57 grams of carbohydrate from one serving of this sesame chicken. In which, there are only 6 grams of sugar coming from honey, making this an ideal choice for low-carb dieters.
Chicken thighs and chicken breasts can be used interchangeably in this recipe. The same goes for oil— you can also swap avocado oil with olive oil or coconut oil.
1. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast will make this dish leaner as it’s white meat. However, as chicken breast is low in fat, it dries out faster than chicken thighs.
For that reason, you might have to adjust the frying time and minus a minute or two. Otherwise, the chicken could be overcooked and become rubbery.
2. Chicken Wings
If it’s chicken thighs or chicken breasts, the chicken must be cut into bite-size pieces to cook with the sauce. However, the preparation would get a bit simpler if chicken wings are used.
You can leave chicken wings as they are without chopping them small. Other than that, simply treat them as chicken thighs as these two cook in an equivalent amount of time.
Final note: as the skin is on, chicken wings will certainly add up calories and fat to the dish. Be careful not to let the nutrition values skyrocket.
How to Make Sesame Chicken
Step 1: Marinate the chicken
In a bowl, mix the marinade from egg, salt, ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Add the chicken to marinate. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Sauté the chicken
Sauté the chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil heated in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 10 minutes until they’re browned on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and set aside.
Step 3: Make the sauce mixture (1)
In the same skillet, turn on medium heat, add garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir.
Step 4: Make the sauce mixture (2)
Continue to add to the skillet successively: 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, and chicken broth. Let it simmer and stir frequently until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken.
Step 5: Cook chicken with sauce
Add apple cider vinegar and transfer the cooked chicken back into the sauce mixture. Stir to coat the chicken evenly.
Step 6: Top
Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, chopped scallions, and roasted sesame seeds. Finally, add sesame oil and give it one last stir. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Step 7: Serve
Serve sesame chicken over a bed of hot cooked rice and steamed broccoli. Enjoy!
Sauce for Sesame Chicken
There are countless variations of this sauce as it’s completely open for people to make alterations to suit their taste.
In this recipe, the sauce calls for garlic, ginger, olive oil, soy sauce, honey, chicken broth, and apple cider vinegar. We carefully tested and observed the ingredient ratios to ensure that the sauce consistency is just right.
How Can You Thicken the Sauce?
We get that sometimes it’s hard to get the right consistency for the sauce. It can easily end up being too thick or too runny.
Therefore, we’ve come up with a couple of ways to adjust the sauce as you go.
If you want to fix a watery sauce, simply blend it with a mixture made of cornstarch and cold water. We suggest your cornstarch to water ratio should be 1:1.
Trying to fix a sauce that’s too thick? Then you’ll need to whisk in a few spoonfuls of water or chicken broth to dilute it.
Please note that you should make adjustments while the sauce is still cooking. Make sure that you go gradually with one spoonful of liquid at a time to avoid over-thickening or over-thinning.
What Goes with Sesame Chicken?
The combination of umami flavor from the soy sauce and spice mixture complements the crispy chicken beautifully. But we believe it’s not truly complete without some of the following add-ons:
To help create a balanced meal, we came up with the idea of serving steamed broccoli alongside the sesame chicken.
However, broccoli will get soggy quickly when it sits in the sauce and absorbs all the liquid. Therefore, it shouldn’t be overcooked.
You should leave the broccoli a bit firm, rather than steaming it to a soft and mushy texture. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?
Honey adds a lovely touch of sweetness to the sauce and perfectly balances the dish’s flavor. The key is to estimate just the right amount of honey.
A nice bed of hot steamed rice to serve along with sesame chicken is also a smart choice. Rice makes a neutral base for this dish as other ingredients have already given all the bold flavors.
If cooked white rice doesn’t appeal to you, consider noodles. To make it with noodles, simply steam them separately and serve alongside the sesame chicken.
You can also add noodles in the pan to cook with the chicken and enjoy it all together. However, in that case, you will have to alter liquid levels accordingly.
How Long Does Sesame Chicken Last in the Fridge?
Sesame chicken starts absorbing the sauce right from the moment you remove it from heat. If left too long at room temperature, it will get soggy.
Therefore, our advice is it’s good to gauge the meal size to cook just enough sesame chicken for one meal.
However, if you find yourself with leftovers, rest assured that it’ll remain edible and tasty within 2 days under refrigeration. Though the crisp could hardly be the same as when it’s newly cooked, its marvelous flavor still stays unaltered.
How to Freeze Sesame Chicken
To freeze sesame chicken, simply transfer it to an airtight container and cover tightly with a lid. Pop it into the freezer and the leftovers can last up to 2 months that way.
What to Serve with Sesame Chicken
We added extra flavors to sesame chicken by serving it alongside miso soup and a refreshing milk and orange juice. We hope that you’ll find this combination as enjoyable as we did!
1. Miso Soup
To make it an Asian-style combo meal, miso soup is our top choice of side for sesame chicken. This traditional Japanese soup is warm, comforting, and bursting in flavors with soft silky tofu, seaweed, salmon, and shrimp.
2. Milk and Orange Juice
There are a lot of different flavors coming together in this dish so far. Though it may sound odd, this milk and orange juice really can round them off nicely.
Try it and tell us what you think!
Sesame Chicken Recipe
- 12 oz skinless boneless chicken thighs chunked
- 1 medium egg beaten
- 3 tbsp cornstarch divided
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 oz sesame seeds roasted
- 1 oz scallion chopped
- 10 oz broccoli steamed
- 3 cups cooked medium-grain rice 1 cup uncooked
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- Cook the rice.
- Steam the broccoli until tender.
- Mix together egg, salt, ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a bowl. Add the chicken to marinate. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat to sauté the marinated chicken. Stir frequently for 10 minutes until they’re browned on all sides.
- After the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, make the sauce mixture: Turn on medium heat, add garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir.
- Continue to add the following ingredients to the skillet successively: 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, and chicken broth (it’s important that it is done in this order, otherwise the sauce will be muddy). Let it simmer and stir frequently until it starts to bubble and thicken.
- Stir apple cider vinegar in and transfer the cooked chicken back into the sauce mixture. Stir to coat the chicken chunks evenly.
- Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, chopped scallions, and roasted sesame seeds. Finally, add sesame oil and give it one last stir.
- Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Serve sesame chicken over a bed of hot cooked rice and steamed broccoli, sprinkle a few pinches of roasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions on top. Enjoy!
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