I remember back when we lived in Toronto, we used to drive down to New York in Brooklyn to see my cousins. It was a regular thing – every break we would journey on the 8 hour drive, or they would come to us, or sometimes we would even meet in the middle.
When I was in about 1st grade and it was our “turn” to go down to New York, my uncle and dad took me and my sister out during the day – for what I don’t even remember, but we ended up pit stopping at their friend’s house, who lived in the suburbs.
For one thing, their house was HUGE, but what I remember even till now was the food that they had (destined to be a foodie from the start ayyy). They gave us sesame chicken. I can STILL remember the taste of it – crispy but sweet, and just GOOD. Whether it was takeout or homemade, I don’t know, but the fact that I can still recall its taste – that’s enough on its own.
Recently I was scrolling on my Instagram and came across a recipe for sesame chicken with broccoli on The Recipe Critic and had nostalgic feelings for the sesame chicken I had back then.
So, after scavenging through the internet and various other blogs, and seeing similar ingredients among them all, I managed to come up with my own recipe.
In order to make this healthy, I’ve provided 2 options – 1, fry the chicken with the typical corn starch batter (when does this not taste good lol) or 2, sautee the chicken in a limited amount of oil. Both have been tried and tested, and both taste good (very similar taste) – so take your pick. Chef’s choice. For both ways, I used olive oil, and even then not toooo much for the first option either, so even the usual unhealthy option can easily be made healthy. PLUS, no sugar is used – only honey. I always eat this with brown rice as opposed to white rice, but you can also use quinoa – expensive in Saudi so that’s basically a dream for me 😦
Definitely take this option for a healthy, and quick summer meal, as opposed to Chinese take out.
- 2 cups broccoli florets
For sauteed chicken:
- 3 -4 medium skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For “fried” chicken:
- 3 – 4 medium skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Olive oil or canola oil, or any vegetable oil of choice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Steam/boil the broccoli with about a cup of water, until slightly tender, only 5 minutes.
- Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken, to your liking.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet on medium heat.
- Add the chicken in and toss it around the oil for about 5 minutes, until it starts to look ‘white’ in colour
- Cover the pan with a lid and slightly lower the heat, and let the chicken cook in its own water for 10-15 minutes, to ensure its thoroughly cooked.
- Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.
- In a bowl, combine cornstarch and a generous amount of salt and pepper – I used almost 2 teaspoons of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper.
- Toss the chicken in this mixture.
- In a small frying pan, add in enough oil so that the chicken can be half submerged. Heat the oil and add in the battered chicken, making sure to separate each cube when putting in the pan. Fry until its light brown in colour, with a crispy looking texture (picture above), then remove from pan. Repeat until all cubes are fried.
- Set chicken aside in a bowl.
- In the same skillet from the sautee chicken, heat a teaspoon of olive oil. Add onions, and cook for about a minute, until slight colour change. Add in garlic and ginger. Cook and stir until fragrant, for about 1 – 2 minutes. Add in soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, vinegar and sesame seeds. Stir, and cook until sauce thickens.
- Add in fried or sautee chicken, and toss with sauce. Turn heat to low and add in broccoli, stirring mixture to coat chicken and broccoli with sauce.
To serve, garnish with more sesame seeds if desired, or chopped green onions. Serve with brown or white rice.
If you wish, you can add some chopped green chilies or red chili flakes to add some spice.