I don’t really watch television but lately I have found myself drawn to cooking shows on SBS. One that got my attention is A Culinary Adventure with Ken and Ching. Ken is from Chicago and Ching from London, both of Chinese descent. They travel through China learning about and indulging in authentic Chinese cuisine.
The trouble with me watching cooking shows is, I want to cook everything! So here starts my new obsession with Chinese food. It didn’t help that last week we went out for a fantastic Chinese meal and I was wondering with every mouthful if I could cook any of the dishes myself. And then my father-in-law told me a story about how my mother-in-law could not cook when they met and so she embarked on some formal Chinese cooking lessons. After that she was known for her amazing cooking skills by everyone that had the fortunate pleasure of ever eating the food she prepared. I wasn’t so lucky, however everyone that I meet that knew her always, ALWAYS talks about how talented she was in the kitchen.
So my google quest commences. I looked at a few recipes for sesame chicken, and they all appeared somewhat similar in the batter and sauce technique but ingredients varied from recipe to recipe. I understand that different regions in China have their own way of preparing the same dishes.
This recipe is not in any way authentic, but who cares, it tastes delicious! I would imagine an authentic version to have a lot more ingredients, from the shows I have been watching I have noticed Chinese cuisine encompasses a decent amount of different sauces and seasonings.
I think I need to learn how to cook honey chicken next, and prawns in salted egg yolk batter. And deep fried squid tentacles. Okay I’ll stop.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1” portions (approx 1kg)
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp chilli oil
Peanut oil (for frying)
2 spring onion stems, sliced
1 (250ml) cup water
5 tbsp cornflour (or cornstarch)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour (or cornstarch)
Roast sesame seeds in a pan on medium heat until lightly browned.
Combine water and salt in a bowl and mix until salt dissolves. Add chicken and set aside for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes add cornflour and oil, mix well.
Combine sauce ingredients well in a separate bowl.
Heat peanut oil in wok on medium heat. Add chicken pieces and fry until cooked and slightly golden. I do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the wok. Once golden in colour, remove chicken from wok.
Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in wok and stir fry ginger, garlic, and chilli oil until fragrant.
Add sauce mixture and stir until thickened.
Add chicken to wok and coat with sauce.
Plate chicken on top of freshly steamed jasmine rice and garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion.
** Amendment: Initial post had 8 chicken breasts when in fact this recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts. If someone tried it on day one of posting, I apologise for the banquet sized meal you would’ve ended up with!
** On first testing I made this dish with 2 chicken breasts and only used ½ cup water in the batter mix. For 4 chicken breasts I use 1 cup water.