Sesame Chicken

Jan 31st, 2011 by Gemma

I came to Chinese food later in life, I don’t know why, it’s not as if we never had it when I was young.. But, like kids are wont to do I decided it wasn’t for me and always got fried chicken instead.

I’ll admit, even though I’ve been eating Chinese food for several years now, I’m kind of a rut eater. Oh, I’ve tried a good number of other dishes, but I always seem to come back to the sesame chicken.

We were trying out a couple of Chinese restaurants near us and suddenly, one served their chicken with a bit of spice too! I liked it, that added a whole new layer of flavour and made my already favourite dish even harder to oust from it’s number one spot.

Then last week I was planning dinner, I was in a Chinese mood but we were being good and eating at home.. well, a quick search on the internet and that’s easily remedied. I ended up with the “Perfect Sesame Chicken” from All Recipes. I actually dislike All Recipes as a resource and try to avoid it, but for once it had the most comprehensive recipe. Of course, I made a few changes, but that’s pretty much a given regardless of where the recipe is from.

It’s actually really easy, the most time consuming part is frying the chicken which took longer than I anticipated.

We start by making the batter for the chicken. Mix together all the ingredients, no particular order. We didn’t have dry sherry, and didn’t want to buy a whole bottle for 1 tablespoon so we used the Japanese rice wine Mirin, it worked just fine! Cut your chicken into the desired sized pieces, I went for long strips, about the same size will give more consistent cooking. Mix your chicken in the batter and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Toast your sesame seeds while everything is quiet and put to one side.

Get your oil heated to 375F while the chicken is in the fridge. When the chicken comes out it looks like it’s barely coated in the batter, don’t worry, this is actually more than enough for what we need.

A few pieces at a time (depending on the size of pan and amount of oil) put your chicken into the oil and cook until golden brown. The first couple I like to double check the internal temperature with a probe thermometer just to make sure they’re cooking right. I used just an inch of oil, enough to just cover the chicken, if you were deep frying you would be able to add some more in one go. Don’t forget adding more will bring the oil temperature down meaning the chicken may become greasy, a gas cooker really helps with controlling the heat so it always stays in the 375F vicinity. Drain the chicken on paper towels.

I will warn you, use a high sided pan, or your stove top will look like this from all the oil splatters!

While the chicken is cooking work on the sauce. Bring the chicken broth, garlic, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chile paste to a boil, it doesn’t look very attractive at this stage but it’s good. Next time I will reduce the amount of sugar as it was way too much, I added more vinegar and chile this time around, I may or may not need to once there is less sugar.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir into the boiling sauce, simmer until the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes or so) and turn to a low to keep warm while the chicken finishes.

Once the chicken is all cooked up you can serve. The recipe says to pile the chicken on a plate, top with sauce and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds. I mixed mine all together, because, well, that’s the way I like it! I reserved a few seeds for sprinkling, but most of them went in the sauce.

Served with rice this lasted or 4 meals, pretty good for just 2 chicken breasts!

Recipe – from with my adaptations
Serves 4

2tbsp AP Flour
2tbsp Cornstarch
1/4tsp Baking Soda
1/4tsp Baking Powder
2tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce (though why they use low sodium here when they don’t later I’m not sure!)
1tbsp Mirin (or Dry Sherry)
2tbsp Water
1tsp and a bit Sesame Oil
1lb-ish Chicken Breast (I found 2 breasts to be good…. oh yeah!)

8oz Chicken Broth
100g Sugar
3tbsp Distilled White Vinegar
2tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
3tbsp Sesame Oil
2tsp Chile Paste (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
3cloves Garlic, minced
1/4cup Cornstarch
4oz Water

4-6tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds


  1. Hilah said:

    I’m impressed! The only “Chinese” food I ever do at home is stir fry. I must try this! You made it look so easy.