This 20-Minute Sesame Chicken is a cinch to make with NO DEEP FRYING required! Serve it with steamed rice or quinoa and broccoli or green beans for a complete, delicious weeknight meal.
The benefits to living a small town are numerous: wide open spaces, familiar faces wherever you go, minimal traffic…
But a glaring downside where I live is not having good Chinese takeout options within a 45 minute drive. And sometimes, I just want Chinese food NOW.
One of my favorite Chinese restaurant recipes is sesame chicken. It’s sticky, salty, sweet, crunchy, and absolutely addictive.
Usually, sesame chicken is deep fried, then coated in a sweet, soy sauce and sesame oil based sauce.
Don’t get me wrong: I love me some fried chicken. But when I’m cooking at home, I’m not usually one to deep fry things from scratch. There’s too much mess, too much oil, too much terrifying splatter, and it makes your house smell like oil.
So here’s a fun way to make a crunchy coating on the chicken without deep frying!
Just coat the chicken in a thick batter consisting of: egg, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. The batter sticks to the chicken and crisps up in just a couple of tablespoons of oil in a non-stick or cast-iron skillet.
My other complaint about sesame chicken is that sometimes it’s just TOO sweet. Like, WAY too sweet. I do love a little bit of sweetness in stir-fry sauces, and I think it’s absolutely necessary to get that well-rounded flavor balance of sweet, acidic, salty, umami that makes some Chinese recipes so addictive!
If you search the internet for “sesame chicken recipes,” you’re sure to find a lot that use a half cup or MORE of sugar in the sauce.
In my opinion, that’s WAY TOO MUCH sugar! Not only is it less healthy, but it overwhelms the balance of the rest of the flavors.
For this sesame sauce, I used 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to get a well-balanced sweetness that wasn’t too sweet and had a deeper flavor than just adding plain white sugar.
You can also use honey instead of the maple syrup, if you prefer.
More on the sauce: please don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. I didn’t have to shop for anything new for it since I already had all of it in my pantry or fridge, and I bet you have a lot of it too.
I added a little sriracha hot sauce in there for some spiciness, but feel free to leave it out if you prefer.
And the addition of sesame seeds directly in the sauce adds to the delicious crunchy texture of this sesame chicken stir fry recipe.
I served this sesame chicken with steamed rice and green beans, and topped everything with some more toasted sesame seeds. It would be great garnished with green onions or cilantro, or even with cauliflower rice, zoodles, or in a lettuce wrap for a lower carb version.
And make sure you check out this awesome list of the 7 Best Chinese Stir Fry Sauces so you can up your Chinese food game from the comfort of your own home!…