Chinese Sesame Chicken

Chinese Sesame Chicken, a dish celebrated worldwide, is renowned for its delightful interplay of sweet and savory flavors, enriched by a hint of sesame. Despite its present-day popularity, the origins and history of this dish are often overlooked, a narrative that is as fascinating as the dish itself.

To truly appreciate the history of Sesame Chicken, one must first understand the rich tapestry of Chinese cuisine. Dating back thousands of years, Chinese culinary tradition showcases a diverse array of regional styles and cooking techniques. Each region, from the spicy Sichuan to the milder Cantonese, has its unique culinary personality, contributing to the vast spectrum of Chinese cuisine.

However, the origins of Sesame Chicken are not as ancient. This dish, as we know it today, was born out of the American-Chinese food culture that developed in the early 20th century. This was a time when Chinese immigrants began settling in the U.S., bringing their culinary traditions along with them and adapting them to cater to local American tastes.

Despite its American roots, Sesame Chicken borrows heavily from traditional Chinese culinary practices. The technique of battering and frying chicken pieces, for instance, is a common practice in many Chinese dishes. This method of cooking, known as ‘guoba’ in Mandarin, is a testament to the Chinese love for contrasts in texture, combining the crunchiness of the fried batter with the succulence of the chicken.

The sweet and savory sauce, another hallmark of Sesame Chicken, is also reminiscent of the sauces used in numerous Chinese recipes. This sauce, typically a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and vinegar, encapsulates the Chinese philosophy of balancing flavors, known as ‘fan-ts’ai’.

An interesting fact about Sesame Chicken is its frequent confusion with other American-Chinese dishes like General Tso’s chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken. While they might share a similar appearance and cooking method, each dish boasts a distinct flavor profile. Sesame Chicken is sweet and nutty, General Tso’s Chicken packs a spicier punch, and Sweet and Sour Chicken is known for its tangy flavor.

In modern times, Sesame Chicken has garnered a spot as a staple item on menus in Chinese restaurants across the globe. It’s not just a popular take-out dish in the U.S., but also a much-loved meal in many other countries. This global appeal showcases the adaptability of Chinese cuisine, reflecting its ability to seamlessly blend with local tastes and preferences.

In conclusion, Chinese Sesame Chicken, while a relatively recent addition to the broad spectrum of Chinese cuisine, perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Chinese cooking. It embodies a harmonious blend of flavors, textures, and cooking techniques. It stands as a testament to the adaptability of Chinese cuisine, highlighting how a centuries-old culinary tradition can evolve and find a home in kitchens worldwide.

Chinese Sesame Chicken

Much easier to prepare than the ingredient list indicates. If you are a fan of Chinese food you will love this dish. No more ordering chicken from chinese restaurants! Now you know how to make it yourself. Serve with jasmine rice.

Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 25 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 4 Calories: 732

Ingredients:

Chicken Marinade

Sauce

Optional

Instructions

  1. Combine the 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the dry sherry, dash of sesame oil, flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water, baking powder, baking soda, and canola oil in a large bowl. Mix well; stir in the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  2. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 190 degrees C

  3. In a separate pan combine the 1/2 cup water, chicken broth, vinegar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, red chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the sauce has thickened turn heat to low and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

    I personally add cubed peppers and onion to the sauce about 5 minutes before serving to allow vegetables soften a bit but remain crunchy.
  4. Fry the marinated chicken in batches until cooked through and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

  5. Transfer the chicken to a large plate, top with sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  6. Serve with jasmine rice

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 bowl

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 732kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14.1g22%
Saturated Fat 3.3g17%
Cholesterol 115mg39%
Sodium 1243mg52%
Potassium 484mg14%
Total Carbohydrate 103.9g35%
Dietary Fiber 3.4g14%
Sugars 53.1g
Protein 43.4g87%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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