If you love Sesame Chicken but not the doughnut breading, deep fat frying, and sticky, sugary glaze, you are going to LOVE this easy, secretly healthy stir fry that’s savory, a touch sweet, and tastes just like Sesame Chicken. You know what we call that? An upgrade!
If you’re a long time IGE reader with a very good memory, this recipe might look a tad familiar. It’s a slight twist on my Kale Fried Rice which I shared way back in 2012. Believe it or not, we still eat it regularly nearly 6 years later, with a few modifications. Since our family has more then doubled in that time, I’ve taken to also doubling the recipe, plus adding chopped chicken thighs. Trust me, if want your take out fake out recipes to taste like the real thing – you have GOT to be using chicken thighs! Chicken thighs are super buttery and flavorful, and the only part of the chicken that both my kids will eat these days. Me too, to be honest. Buh-bye, chicken breasts, it’s all about the thighs.
I chose to re-share this recipe now because the stir fry contains 6 cups of chopped kale, which is going to be selling for next to nothing over the next few months. I planted a couple kale plants at our old house, a thousand years and a few lifetimes ago, and they produced all summer long and well into the fall. The dang things just wouldn’t quit! Anyway, we all know how good kale is for us, and if you’ve got a kale/green foods hater in the house, I can almost guarantee they’ll demolish this dish. My 4 and 1 year old certainly do!
Start by mixing up the super easy stir fry sauce – that’s just 1/4 cup each low-sodium gluten-free tamari (could use low-sodium soy sauce if dish does not need to be GF) and mirin mixed with 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup, and a scant Tablespoon sesame oil. You can find mirin in the Asian foods aisle next to the traditional soy sauces. Click here for all my recipes containing mirin – it’s definitely worth a couple bucks!
Next, fill a large wok with water then bring to a boil and simmer 6 packed cups chopped kale until tender but not mushy, 4-5 minutes. I prefer curly kale for this recipe, but use whatever you can find. The easiest way to strip kale from its stem is to hold the stem between your index and middle fingers on one hand, then use your other hand to pull out the stem – then, chop it up!
Drain the kale then squeeze very dry with your hands or a kitchen towel once its cool enough to handle, and then crumble into a bowl.
Time to cook! Place the wok back over high heat to evaporate any remaining water droplets then add 1-1/2 Tablespoons high heat cooking oil like grapeseed, avocado, or vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot add 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs that have been chopped into little pieces then let sear undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, 2 minutes. Add a drizzle of gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce), a dash of white pepper, and 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion that’s been chopped then continue to saute until the chicken is cooked through, 2-3 additional minutes.
Add 6 (yes, 6!) cloves minced garlic then saute until very fragrant, 30 seconds – 1 minute, being very careful not to burn the garlic, then add the cooked kale and toss to combine.
Finally, add 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice that’s been cooked in a saucepan next door (timing in the directions below!) plus the sauce. Turn the heat off then toss everything to combine.
Scoop the Sesame Chicken Fried Rice into bowls then top with toasted sesame seeds for garnish, if you please. Maybe it’s the baby talking, but I can’t help but think a runny, fried egg would be insanely yummy on top too. However you serve it, I hope you love this simple yet outstanding dish – enjoy!
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Sesame Chicken Fried Rice
Sesame Chicken Fried Rice is much healthier then take out! With a fraction of the oil, but all the flavor of your favorite Chinese food order, this gluten-free dinner recipe will be a hit with even the pickiest of eaters.
- 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 6 packed cups chopped kale (~1 large bunch)
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons high heat cooking oil like grapeseed or avocado
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3/4lb), chopped into small pieces
- drizzle gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
- white pepper
- 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion, minced
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup low-sodium gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- scant Tablespoon sesame oil
- Stir together sauce ingredients in a small bowl then set aside.
- Add rice plus 2-3/4 cup water to a small saucepan then turn heat to high to bring to a boil. Place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat then let sit covered for 3 minutes. Remove lid, fluff rice, then scoop onto a plate to cool and set aside. Can be done a day ahead of time.
- Fill a large wok 3/4 of the way full with water then bring to a boil. Add kale then simmer until tender but not mushy, 4-5 minutes. Drain then squeeze kale very dry with hands once cool enough to handle. Crumble kale into a bowl then set aside.
- Place wok back over high heat then, making sure there are no droplets of water inside, add oil. Once oil is very hot, add chicken thighs then spread into an even layer and let sear until golden brown on one side, 2 minutes. Add a drizzle of gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce if using,) a dash of white pepper, and shallots then continue to saute until chicken is cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic then saute, stirring constantly, until garlic is very fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute - be very careful not to burn the garlic!
- Add crumbled kale then toss to combine. Add cooked rice then toss to combine. Drizzle in sauce then turn heat off and toss to combine. Scoop into plates then top with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.