Ready for a delicious Asian inspired meal, that's quick to make and tastes better than take out? This is it! I daresay you could have this on the table in the amount of time it takes to go to the Chinese restaurant. Sesame chicken is on regular rotation at my house, because it's easy enough to whip up on a weeknight for the two of us, but it's also a favorite with guests if you're
entertaining. I think the fresh ginger in the sauce is what makes it so tasty. Let me show you how to put this together.
Start with a couple of boneless chicken breasts, and cut them into bite sized pieces. This step could be done earlier in the day and make the recipe even quicker to come together in the evening. Salt and pepper liberally.
Dredge the chicken pieces in some cornstarch in a bowl. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the chicken in olive oil, turning it to brown on all sides. Don't be too eager to mess with the chicken once it's in the pan. Give it time to brown, before turning it over. Depending on how many servings you're making, and the size of your pan, you may have to cook your chicken in several batches. Add extra oil as needed for browning. Because we've cut the chicken in small pieces, this doesn't take long.
Before you begin cooking the chicken, have all your ingredients for the sauce on the counter and ready to mix. While the chicken is cooking, assemble your sauce.
Now for the star of the show - the fresh ginger. I peel my ginger with the edge of a spoon and then use my Microplane zester to get the small pieces that I want for the sauce. This zester is one of my most used kitchen tools. I use it for zesting lemons and other citrus, hard cheeses and obviously ginger. Just watch your fingers, because it is sharp.
Fresh ginger is much stronger than the dried powder, so you might want to experiment with the amount you want in the recipe. I find that I never use the full amount that most recipes call for. I think you can buy ginger in jars in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, if you think it would make your life easier, go for it.
The sauce comes together with honey or agave, fresh ginger, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Depending on how much chicken you are making, you might want to double the recipe for the sauce, because you want your finished product nice and saucy. If you are prepping earlier in the day for dinner, you could make this sauce and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook. Precutting your chicken and making the sauce, will really speed things along when the dinner hour is approaching.
When your chicken is cooked and your sauce is mixed, you are ready to pour the sauce in the pan with the chicken. The cornstarch coated chicken will thicken the sauce.
At this point, you're kitchen will smell divine and you will be proud of yourself for making a dinner this good, and for saving money. Take out isn't always cheap.
We're going to top the chicken with scallions and toasted sesame seeds. I toast my seeds in a small skillet on the stove and it takes just a couple of minutes. The taste of toasted seeds is much better than plain, so I suggest you take the time to do this step. Do this before you start the chicken, and I usually toast more than I need, so next time I make this recipe, I can skip this step all together. My seeds are ready to go.
Doesn't this look delicious?!?
I serve sesame chicken with rice and steamed broccoli. Depending on the type of rice you use, it could be cooking on another burner and ready when you're chicken is completed. Some rices take longer than others, so factor in that time. Those of you who have rice cookers or use your InstaPot for rice will find this step a no brainer. Steamed broccoli takes only a few minutes. With good timing, and this will come with practice, everything will be ready to eat when you sprinkle the onions and sesame seeds on top. Dinner is served. Chopsticks optional, but fun.
Another time saving tip that I use- always cook more rice than you need. Rice freezes beautifully and it's nice to be able to pull some rice from the freezer and heat it in the microwave when you need it.
If you have leftovers, this will make a happy lunch tomorrow. Enjoy!
Sesame seeds for sprinkling on top of chicken
1 to 1 1/2 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 T. olive oil
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey or agave
3 T. soy sauce
freshly grated ginger, to taste
2 green onions, chopped
Prepare rice and keep warm.
Place large skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast for 3-4 minutes. Watch closely, and stir often to prevent burning. Remove seeds from skillet.
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Salt and pepper well. Toss chicken pieces with cornstarch to coat.
Mix pineapple juice, soy sauce, honey or agave, and ginger in a bowl.
Heat oil in skillet. Cook chicken until lightly browned and cooked through.
Reduce heat and stir in sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve over rice.