Sesame seed chicken; sticky, sweet and slightly spicy served with nutty quinoa and stir fried green vegetables. Its ready in 30 minutes, full of flavour, and so much better and healthier than a Chinese takeaway
An Asian-inspired sesame seed chicken recipe with finger-licking, sticky, sesame chicken sauce and a serving of perfectly cooked quinoa and Asian greens. This is week-night dinner in its best form. Its quick, healthy and hits the spot if your craving a Chinese takeaway. Takeaway cravings are a regular occurrence in our house. If its not a creamy Thai green or quick chicken curry we're after then we'll almost certainly want fish and chips or pizza. But all of these recipes can easily be recreated at home for a tasty, healthier alternative that won't leave you feeling guilty and bloated.
What is Chinese sesame chicken?
This well known Chinese restaurant dish is usually made with battered chicken, which is deep fried until nice and crispy and then tossed in a sweet and sticky sesame sauce. Now, as good as that is, its not all that healthy. Also, If i'm going to be perfectly honest, I'm not a massive fan of the batter under the sauce, which turns soggy very quickly.
How do you make sesame chicken healthy?
For a healthier version, the chicken can be tossed in paprika and flour, instead of batter, and then stir fried with a small amount of oil instead of deep frying. Although this doesn't provide the same crispy sesame chicken as the takeaway version, it does give a sweet, peppery flavour to the chicken and cooking on a high heat will provide a slight charred crispiness. Delicious. The best part about this version is no soggy batter when the chicken is tossed in the sesame sauce! Hurray!!
What is sesame sauce made of?
The sauce for this sesame seed chicken is a sweet, sticky and savoury sauce made with honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli sauce, rice wine vinegar and garlic granules. The honey in the sesame sauce creates a sticky consistency as it simmers and reduces down during cooking. Many sesame sauce recipes use brown sugar and cornflour for flavour and thickening. But if theres a bit of flour on the chicken initially and if the honey in the sauce is allowed to cook down, then theres really no need for sugar or cornflour.
The below links to Chilli sauce and rice vinegar are an affiliate links – which means that if you click on these links and then purchase a product I’ll get a small commission (at no extra cost to you of course). If you do click through, then thanks for continuing to support my site!
How do you make sesame seed chicken?
- First make the sesame seed sauce by mixing together light soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar (I used Blue Dragon Rice Vinegar), garlic granules and sweet chilli sauce (I used Linghams Chilli Sauce 280Ml).
- In a separate bowl mix together plain flour, paprika, salt and pepper and then toss with cubed chicken pieces.
- Stir fry the floured chicken in a hot pan until seared all over and just about cooked through, then add the sesame sauce.
- Simmer on a medium heat until the sesame sauce starts to thicken.
- Sprinkle over sesame seeds. Then serve with quinoa or rice and Asian greens (optional)
Sesame seed chicken with quinoa
For a little extra protein I served my sesame chicken with a helping of quinoa. To make the perfect quinoa, cook the quinoa grains in vegetable stock for 15minute, in a small saucepan with the lid on. Use triple the volume of stock to the amount of grains (i.e. if cooking 100g of raw quinoa add 300ml of stock - this does not need to be perfectly accurate and I usually just judge by eye). After 15 minutes remove the pan from the heat and set to one side, leaving the lid on. Let the quinoa rest like this for 10 minutes. This will continue the cooking process without causing the grains to turn to mush and it will also allow any excess stock to soak in. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving.
How can I thicken my sesame chicken sauce?
The honey in the sauce will reduce down as it cooks and allow the sauce to thicken. If you find the sauce has thicken too much and almost disappeared, add a few splashes of water and cook again on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add more water and cook again if sauce is still too thick. You will find that as the sauce cools it will thicken even more, so if you don't serve immediately you may find you need to add water and cook again to bring it back to life.
Is sesame seed chicken deep fried?
The usual recipe for sesame chicken involves deep frying battered chicken, however, my version uses just flour and paprika and the chicken is stir fried in a small amount of oil.
Can you reheat Sesame seed chicken?
Yes sesame chicken can be reheated if its cooled properly first and then chilled until needed. To reheat add to a pan with a little water and heat gently until piping hot. You may need to add more water if the sauce is too thick. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Can sesame seed chicken be frozen?
Yes, once fully cooled sesame seed chicken can be transferred to a sealable container and frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating in a pan as described above.
Sesame Seed Chicken
For the chicken:
- 350 g Chicken breast cubed
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper
- ½ tbsp sesame oil to stir fry chicken
For the sesame seed sauce
- 3 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Sweet chilli sauce (I used Linghams chilli sauce - see link above)
- Splash of rice wine vinegar (I used Blue Dragon Rice Vinegar - see link above)
- ½ tbsp garlic powder or granules
- 5 g sesame seeds
To serve (optional):
- 80 g raw quinoa cook in 240ml vegetable stock - see above for how to cook the perfect quinoa
- Stir fried green vegetables
- Extra sesame seeds
- Sliced spring onions
For the sesame sauce:
- In a small bowl mix together the light soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, sweet chilli sauce (I used Linghams Chilli Sauce 280Ml), rice wine vinegar, and garlic granules. Set to one side.
For the sesame chicken:
- In a separate larger bowl mix together plain flour, paprika, salt and pepper and then toss with cubed chicken pieces.
- Stir fry the floured chicken in a hot pan with sesame oil until seared all over and just about cooked through.
- Next add the sesame sauce to the chicken and simmer on a medium heat until the sesame sauce starts to thicken.
- Sprinkle over sesame seeds and mix in.
- Then serve with quinoa or rice, Asian greens (optional) and extra sesame seeds for topping.