Well hello there, how was your weekend?
Besides meeting some friends for an impromptu wild Friday night out (oy,) finally watching The Vow on Saturday afternoon (omg what a horribly sad movie, right?!) and witnessing the Hawkeyes get spanked (SPANKED) later that night, there actually isn’t too much to report on from the home front!
The past couple of weeks have been kind of stressful, what with deadlines, projects, presentations, and visualizing a happy ending to a large foodie event I’m involved in a few weeks down the road (details to come,) so I welcomed the chance to zone out and recharge the batts, if you will.
As Luca Spaghetti said in the film Eat, Pray, Love (which I also watched this weekend):
“Americans. You work too hard, you get burned out. You come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the T.V.”
Uhhh, touche, Signor Spaghetti.
Enough of zee whining though, I got another Take-Out Fake-Out recipe for ya’ today! Lighter Sesame Chicken.
It’s a fact that Sesame Chicken is my all-time favorite Chinese dish. Especially Hy-Vee’s Sesame Chicken, which I ordered then inhaled during every lunch break when I worked there sacking groceries as a 14 and 15 year old.
It was…everything you imagine it to be. The chicken too! All fried, and sugary, and, well, fried, and sugary.
That is to say, while candied chicken tastes good on the tongue, it doesn’t look so good on the hips, which is why I was ecstatic to try a lightened up version from Martha Stewart for dinner last night.
This Sesame Chicken is just sweet enough, and you’ll flip over the faux-battered technique that gives each piece of chicken a nice and delicate crunch.
Furthermore, you can make this recipe in under 30 minutes, and I bet you have most, if not all, of the ingredients already on hand. Go check. We’ll wait!
Oh, right, you probably need to see the recipe first…
Start the Lighter Sesame Chicken by making the lightly-sweetened sesame chicken sauce. Combine 2-1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce and 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds in a bowl.
Then add 1/4 cup honey. Drizzly, thick, and golden yellow.
I used to hate honey, btw, and suppose I still do in its raw form, but over the past couple of years I’ve discovered just how delish honey can be in anything from sauteed dishes, where it gets nice and caramelized, to drinks, where it provides a naturally sweet flavor. That is to say, I like honey now.
Finally, add 1 minced garlic clove, stir everything up, then set the sauce aside.
Next get to work on zee chicken. Pat dry, then season 2 small chicken breasts (about 12oz) cut into 2″ hunks with salt & pepper.
Add the chicken pieces to 1 egg white whisked with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch in a large bowl, then toss to coat. THIS is the faux-batter I was talking about! It’s amazing how foamy the egg white and cornstarch become – almost like tempura batter. So cool.
Time to cook! Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet, then add the battered chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes a side, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
Turn off the heat, remove the skillet from the burner, then add the pre-made sauce and 2 chopped green onions, and toss everything to combine.
Or use a spatula, lest you fling sizzling, honey-coated sesame seeds all over yourself and the floor. Cough.
Finally add 2 cups steamed broccoli into the skillet, and stir again to combine.
Serve the Lighter Sesame Chicken over cooked brown rice (directions and timing for cooking the rice and broccoli are in the recipe) for a super-satisfying, quick and easy, take-out fake-out dinner!
Lighter Sesame Chicken
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg white
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 small chicken breasts (12oz), cut into 2″ pieces
salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
- Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic together in a small bowl then set aside. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together egg white and cornstarch until smooth. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper then add to egg white mixture and toss to evenly coat.
- In a small saucepan, steam broccoli until crisp tender then set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then carefully add chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked through. Turn off heat and remove skillet from burner. Add prepared sauce and green onions then toss to combine. Stir in broccoli, then scoop mixture into bowls over cooked rice.
Mmmm, just look at that caramelized honey! This dish comes with all the flavor of sesame chicken, just without the ridiculous amounts of calories and fat.
Sesame seeds are a must in here too, and next time I might go the extra step in toasting them first. I got a big jar of them at Trader Joe’s (originally for my chewy granola bars.) They aren’t expensive, and are nice to have on hand. Very versatile!
Well…enough on sesame seeds. This dish is a real winner, and definitely satisfied my craving for a sweet Chinese food fix. Hope you’ll give it a try!