This post is all about crunchy sesame chicken. This dish is better than anything you’ll experience dining out. It’s quickly become a legendary recipe in our family and one I make on special occasions to surprise the fam!
Super crispy crunch chicken coated with thousands of nutty sesame seeds, dipped in the ultimate tangy homemade sweet and sour sauce! Do you have that ultimate dish that you enjoyed as a child or maybe it’s from a restaurant that has now closed down or is too far away from you, but you can still taste it and yearn for it often? Well, meet my long distance lover, this sesame chicken! I am beyond thrilled to be writing this recipe today.
What is Chinese Takeout Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken
This sesame chicken is from a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Tualatin, OR, where I grew up, and they are known (at least by my family) for having killer sesame chicken. For most of my life, I knew this to be sesame chicken and I had no idea that this style was very unique and hard to find. Because this is my favorite dish of all times, and it’s completely off the grid, I feel a big responsibility to spread this for the masses to enjoy 🙂
After moving to Atlanta I have dreamt of this chicken and tried finding recipes similar online but it’s literally un-googleable. Everything I find is the typical version of mushy breading doused in a brown sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds on top – no! I’ve never found this crispy sesame coated chicken anywhere else I have traveled or lived.
Since 2013 I have been trying to make this recipe and every time I failed miserably. The breading was constantly the wrong texture and taste, I didn’t know how the sesame seeds were incorporated. Ugh, I failed so many times at making this recipe that I just gave up and never bothered again until a few weeks ago. I guess building up my food knowledge over the past few years made a big difference. The process and ingredients suddenly became clear and after a good retry, it was amazing.
I am so happy to share this with you and would love to hear your comments below. And if you have any insight to the origins of this style of sesame chicken, I would LOVE to learn!
Crispy Sesame Chicken
- 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 2" long pieces
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- Serve with jasmine rice
Sesame Chicken Batter
- 1/2 cup self rising flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 3 oz sesame seeds
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar / white vinegar
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Heat your oil to 375 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to monitor and adjust the heat as needed, throughout the process as it will fluctuate.
- Prepare a baking sheet or cooling rack lined with layers of paper towels beside the frying pan for placing the cooked chicken when finished.
Batter & Fry Chicken
- Make the batter by mixing together all batter ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth.
- Dip chunks of chicken in the batter, ensuring full coverage, then place into the oil. Work quickly so chicken cooks evenly. Don't overcrowd the pan. You will need to cook them in a few batches.
- Fry for 5-6 minutes, making sure to get even browning on all sides of the chicken. I use a spider/skimmer to flip and move the chicken around, preventing them from sticking together as they cook.
Sweet & Sour Sauce
- To make the sweet and sour sauce, put a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, vinegar and water to the pan. Stir and allow to cook until the sugar is dissolved.
- In a small dish, whisk together the ketchup and cornstarch until combined. Add this to the sugar mixture. Whisk well to combine, bring to a boil. Keep whisking as needed to create a smooth, thickened sauce. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. I like to serve the sauce while it's still warm.