Lighter Sesame Chicken

I’ve never ordered Sesame Chicken in a Chinese restaurant – I was always more of a Chicken Lo Mein or Happy Family kind of girl – so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I made Lighter Sesame Chicken from the December 2007 issue of Everyday Food.

I started by making the brown rice. This was actually the most time-consuming part of this recipe. Brown rice (regular, not instant) takes 45 minutes to cook as opposed to 20 minutes for white rice. I guess instant brown rice does exist, but it sounds like there may be some texture and flavor issues. The rice cooking time wasn’t really an issue, though, because I used it to handle the rest of the recipe, and everything ended up being finished at the same time. That’s always a plus!

Once I had the brown rice going, I prepped the broccoli. I cut two heads into large florets and then peeled and thinly sliced the leftover stems. Peeling broccoli stems isn’t my favorite chore, but a good Y peeler always helps. I also cut 4 scallions into thin slices and set them aside.

Next, I made the sauce. I combined honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic in a small bowl and set it aside. In a large bowl, I combined 2 egg whites and some cornstarch. (I didn’t realize at the time that I was making batter – silly me!) I added 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 2-inch chunks, seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper, and then tossed the chicken to coat it.

I heated 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I cooked the chicken in two batches, about 8 minutes per batch. When I turned on the heat for the chicken, I also started boiling water in a pot with a steamer basket for the broccoli. The water reached a boil during the first batch of chicken, and I cooked the broccoli for 6 minutes during the second batch of chicken.

When the second batch of chicken was finished, I put the first batch back in the pan with the second batch. I added the sauce I had made earlier to the skillet along with the scallions, and I tossed everything to coat.

I put the chicken mixture and the broccoli in a medium bowl, tossed it together, and served it with the brown rice.


This was yummy. It definitely didn’t taste like deep-fried chicken (some will see that as a plus, some as a minus, I know), but there was a slight, pleasant crunch to the dish. I also think the batter helped keep the chicken nice and juicy. I will make this again. Next time, I might cut my chicken pieces a little smaller, though. I think the purpose behind the two-inch chunks is that there would be less surface area for the batter to cover (making the dish lighter, I suppose), but I prefer bite-size pieces.

TIPS: When you first put the battered chicken in the pan to saute it, make sure you give it a good toss in the first minute. I let my first batch cook for about two minutes before I tried to toss it, and I actually had to flip it and break up the pieces with a spatula because the batter had formed a solid layer on the bottom.

I had some oil spatter issues with my second batch, so watch your hands (and clothes!).

Recipe link: Lighter Sesame Chicken

1 Response to “Lighter Sesame Chicken”

  1. 1 Colleen December 10, 2007 at 4:23 am

    Darren and I tried this recipe last night. Unfortunately, our non non-stick pan was a big problem. All of the batter cooked to the bottom, away from the chicken. We’ll definitely try this again after the purchase of a non-stick wok.

    We halved everything to accomodate one chicken breast, and wish we had made the full batch of sauce. Next time we’ll do that, and add more veggies. I’m also going to morph the recipe into Orange Chicken with some Sriracha, orange juice, and peel. Mmmm, can’t wait.

    I’m glad you posted this easy recipe, as Darren has been pushing to make asian style food at home for a while, and all of the recipes I had seen required a lot of work to prepare the sauce. Yay!

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