This article is about how to cook sesame chicken 蜜汁芝麻鸡. I was told it is an American Chinese food, which was invented by the Chinese migrants who looked for the greener pasture in California in the 19th century.

I believe it’s true because after living in Hong Kong and Malaysia since I was young, I hardly find any Chinese restaurants serving this dish.

My recipe may not precisely be the Americanised version, as I have toned down the sweetness to cater for the taste buds for the locals. But it is a crowd pleaser to anyone that has tasted.

Keep reading to find out how to make it.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy  for more info. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Step by step guide – how to prepare sesame chicken

sesame chicken recipe

sesame chicken marinate
Marinate chicken pieces, deboned, remove skin.

Step 1- Marinate the chicken

How to marinate the chicken:

  1. Debone the chicken thigh.
  2. Remove any skin dangling on the thigh. (or remove all if you do not like the skin).
  3. Cut the thigh meat into bite size.
  4. Combine the chicken with the egg white, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, cornstarch, and Shaoxing wine together.
  5. Keep into the refrigerator, let it marinate for at least half an hour.

The details:

The preparation begins with choosing the best part of the chicken for this dish.

The chicken

We use deboned chicken thigh meat, which is preferred by most of the Chinese. On the contrary, chicken breast meat can be your choice. I want to leave it to you to decide, but one thing for sure is that it has to be boneless.

You may want to leave the skin on. I prefer to remove any skin dangling on the meat and leave alone those securely attached. Skin detached from the chicken chunks do not taste good after deep frying/pan-frying.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, and marinate with the combination of egg whites, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornflour.

sesame chicken marinate 30 min
Marinate for half an hour

The marinade

Egg white is used to marinate meat and chicken by many Chinese chefs because it protects the meat from the direct heat of the oil during deep-frying and stir-frying. The result: even cooking.

Dark soy sauce has a caramelized flavor, sweeter and less salty than light soy sauce. Light soy sauce has a more savory flavor with a lighter color. You can adjust the ratio of both soy sauce to get the flavor and color you want.

Cornstarch help to form a protective layer to shield the meat from the direct heat of the oil during deep-frying, Both egg and flour are used in a similar way in Western cooking for deep-frying.

Shaoxing wine adds flavor to the meat. You can also add some extra to the pan during cooking for a stronger flavor. Substitute with rice wine if you do not have Shaoxing wine.  Omit it if you do not consume alcohol.

Step 2- Preparing the dry coating mix to coat the chicken

Dry mix yields a crispier coating than batter. It will stay crisp for a while after dressing with the sauce.  (I tested it, and stay partially crisp for about 20 minutes, which is enough to dish out and serve). I want to serve crispy sesame chicken, so coating with a dry mix is my choice.

The formula of the dry coating

Combine the following ingredients. The following quantity is enough for this recipe but you can multiply the amount and keep the balance for other similar Chinese dishes, such as General Tso’s chicken. It can be stored for a long time.

  • 25g of cornstarch
  • 25g of all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (Baking powder works too)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
sesame chicken coat with dry mix
Combine the dry coating mix with the chicken before frying

The details:

Regular flour (all-purpose flour) has less gluten than bread flour, which means it can form a more crispy coating. Bread flour has higher gluten content and is not the best choice if you want your chicken to be crispy.

For the same reason,  cornstarch can is to produce a crispy surface. This property is also good for making very crispy cookies, in which cornstarch is one of the major components.

The purpose of baking soda is to make it fluffy, and less dense. You can also use baking powder as it has the same leavening effect.

Add some salt to season it, just in case you are biting on the crispy flour coating, it will still taste good with the inclusion of salt.

Watch the videoRead on: Watch the video recipe at the end of this post

Watch this video (below the instruction of the recipe)

A picture worth a thousand words, a video worth a thousand images.

This video will show you how to prepare sesame chicken. (6.12 minutes). It is located below the Instruction, above the nutrition value in the recipe below.

(Note: If you encounter any audio / visual problem of viewing this video, you can view it from YouTube by clicking this link, which will open in a new tab)


pan-fried sesame chicken
Pan-fried with extra oil for 4 minutes

Step 3- Fry the chicken

The deep-fried method

Deep-fry with the deep fryer at 160°C for about 4 minutes.

I am so used to deep-frying the chicken as this is the standard procedure in my restaurant. We always have a deep-fryer ready at all times. Just add any food into the deep fryer basket, give it a good shake. Set the time to 4 minutes and remove it from the oil. That is easy.

But I know that not all households use deep fryer at home. It is not worth to get one if you only deep-fry your food occasionally.

Even though you have a deep fryer at home, or using a wok, it is still a headache what to do with the leftover oil.

The pan-fry method

Therefore, I am using the alternative way that works, which produces the same result. – pan-fried in a non-stick pan.  (Or you can call it as sesame chicken stir-fry / pan-fry, glazed with sesame sauce.)

Pan-fry with more oil than normal, preferably with a non-stick pan for 4 minutes. Move the chicken occasionally in the first minute so that they will not stick together. The flour coating will not stick anymore once it is cooked. Flip over from time to time for even cooking.

Does pan-fried and deep-fried produce the same result?

The result is nearly identical. The only difference is that I have to manually adjust the temperature, flip and move the chicken in the pan from time to time.

aromatic for sesame chicken
Saute the aromatics

Step 4- The aromatics

The aromatics I use are garlic, ginger, and scallion. I am using the same combination for General Tso’s chicken, which a favorite item in our restaurant. (Check out the Kung Pao chicken recipe if you like Chinese stir-fry).

You can add some dry chili if you like spiciness, which is optional.

How to do it :

  1. Mince the garlic and the ginger.
  2. Cut the scallion into small pieces.
  3. Cut one dry chili into short pieces.
  4. Add some oil into the pan/wok.

Add all the above into the pan and saute over low heat until it turns aromatic.

sesame chicken with honey

Step 5- Make the sesame chicken sauce

After the garlic, ginger and scallion turns aromatic, add the sauce into the pan.

The taste of the sesame chicken is mainly determined by the composition of the sauce.

The sesame chicken sauce is made with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, honey, and water together. This recipe is my favorite combination, but you can always make changes according to your preference.  I add honey to make the sesame chicken with honey 蜜汁芝麻鸡 served in many restaurants.

How to do it

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Combine with the sauteed ginger, garlic, and scallions in the pan. Bring the sauce to a bowl over low heat.
  3. Add the fried chicken to the pan. Flip and stir the chicken so that the sauce covers all the chicken pieces. The sauce should have reduced and thickened by now.
  4. Add the sesame oil and the toasted sesame. Mix and dish out.

Please note that the sesame oil should be added at the large stage of cooking.  HIgh heat can destroy the flavor of the sesame oil.

The Sesame Chicken Recipe

Yield: 2 portions

Sesame Chicken with honey

This recipe is about how to cook sesame chicken. I was told it is an American Chinese food, which was invented by the Chinese migrants who looked for the greener pasture in California in the 19th century. It's true because after living in Hong Kong and Malaysia since I was young, I hardly find any Chinese restaurants serving this dish over here. So I have decided to make one. Keep watching to find out how to make it.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Marinade: (A)

Dry mix for deep-frying (B)

Sauce to coat the chicken (C)

The aromatics (D)

Others (E)

Instructions

Marinate the chicken:

  1. Debone the chicken thigh.
  2. Remove any skin dangling on the thigh.
  3. Cut the thigh meat into bite size.
  4. Combine the chicken with other ingredients in A.
  5. Keep into the refrigerator, let it marinate for at least half an hour.

Coat the chicken:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in B. 
  2. Coat the marinated chicken with the dry mix.

Make the sauce:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in C

Fry the chicken:

  1. Add some oil to the pan.
  2. Add the aromatics in D.
  3. Add the fried chicken to the pan. Flip and stir the chicken so that the sauce covers all the chicken pieces. The sauce should have reduced and thickened by now.
  4. Add the sesame oil and the toasted sesame. Mix and dish out.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2 servings

Serving Size:

500g of chicken

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1427 Total Fat: 30g Cholesterol: 385mg Sodium: 4889mg Carbohydrates: 125g Sugar: 63g Protein: 157g

You may also need the following items for this recipe:

 

 


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    3 replies to "Sesame Chicken with honey – How to cook step by step"

    • KP Kwan

      Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

    • Patsy Chia

      Hi, Mr Kwan, Thank you for posting this new video and thank you for including a link that goes directly to YouTube to the video, which makes it much easier to locate the video.

      Regards
      Patsy Chia

      • KP Kwan

        You are welcome. Your suggestion is very useful to other readers too. Have a great weekend!

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