I love take-out Chinese food but because I’m a poor graduate student, I can’t spend money on restaurants very often. That’s why this recipe, adapted from Budget Bites (a great blog) is genius – it tastes like take-out sesame chicken, but it’s half the cost. The Budget Bites website even has a price breakdown, if you’re interested.
To make 3 portions of sesame chicken, you’ll need:
3 T cornstarch, plus 1 T more for sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 T vegetable oil
4 T soy sauce
2 T water
1 T toasted sesame oil
3 T brown sugar
3 T rice vinegar
1 inch fresh ginger
4 T sesame seeds
5 cups brown rice
2 green onions, sliced thin into rings
In a bowl, whisk together the egg and 3 T cornstarch, as well as a pinch of salt and pepper. Clean the chicken thighs – they’ll probably be pretty fatty – then cut them into 1-inch pieces. Toss the chicken into the egg and cornstarch mixture in the bowl.
Let the chicken rest for a few minutes while you make the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, water, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, minced garlic, cornstarch (2 T) and sesame seeds. I usually grate the ginger with a microplane grater!
Then heat a large skillet with 3 T vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When it’s very hot, add the chicken to the pan. Cook it, stirring only occasionally, until it is golden brown and cooked through. This will take about 10 minutes, and the egg mixture is meant to coat the chicken. The more you move the chicken in the pan, the less the coating will stick. Hands off!
Once the chicken is cooked through, pour the sauce over the top. Cornstarch acts as a natural thickener, so the sauce will automatically begin to thicken as soon as it hits the hot skillet. Once the chicken is coated and the sauce looks thick enough, turn off the heat.
I heated up some pre-made Trader Joe’s brown rice (frozen) to put under the chicken. If you’re making your own rice, start it before you start the chicken. Then put both in a bowl and garnish with sliced green onions.
享受 (that means “enjoy!” in Chinese)