You ever get the craving for American Chinese food? I say "American" because I don't think my family in Taiwan would recognize this dish. It's food, nonetheless, and I got a craving for Sesame Chicken this week. lf you're planning on making this dish, there are just a few things you might want to check your pantry for before you get started.
Cornstarch isn't something everyone has on hand, so make sure you locate that box before you start cooking. How about soy sauce? I know most people have soy sauce in the cupboard, but see if you've got enough left. You'll need vinegar too. And lastly, see if you have chile paste. This is actually an optional ingredient, but it does add a spicy depth to the sauce. If you like spice, you might want to make sure you have some.
Now for the recipe:
Sesame Chicken with Broccoli
2 chicken breasts, pounded flat and diced into 1" cubes
1 c flour, for dredging
1/4 c canola oil
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp salt
For the sauce:
1/4 c water (warm)
1/2 c chicken broth
1 tbsp vinegar
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chile paste (optional, and you can add more if you like more heat)
1/4 c cornstarch
Dredge the chicken cubes in flour and set aside while you heat 3 tbsp of canola oil in a large pan over med-high heat.
Add the chicken to the pan, cook thoroughly. The best way to cook the chicken is to cook each side for about 3-4 minutes, allowing the chicken to brown (a little) to create a crispy crust.
Remove the chicken and set it aside.
In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil over med-high and add the broccoli. Cook for about a minute, then add 2 tbsp of water. This will create steam - cover the pan and allow the broccoli to steam for about 3-4 minutes.
While the broccoli is steaming, prepare your sauce.
Add all the ingredients (except the cornstarch) in a bowl and mix well.
In a small cup, add a couple teaspoons of cold water and mix in the cornstarch. Mix well to make a slurry - stir to remove all the clumps.
Add the cornstarch slurry to your sauce and combine.
Add the chicken back to the pan with the broccoli and pour the sauce in. Over med-low heat, mix the ingredients and allow the sauce to thicken.
Top the chicken and broccoli with a sprinkle sesame seeds and serve over white rice.
I like to pound the chicken breast because it makes the chicken more tender, and it also flattens it so that each piece is pretty much the same thickness making it much easier to cook evenly.
I also like to serve this dish with pot stickers. Pot stickers are easy to make from Chinese dumplings. I have a great recipe for making your own dumplings. I'll be making these this weekend, so look for this post next week.