No-Guilt Sesame Chicken

We love Chinese food (as you can probably tell from my blog) but sometimes the dishes we love aren’t exactly the healthiest.  Try as we might, the not-so-healthy dishes are delish and it’s hard to resist.  Not to mention ordering in adds up so I am always looking to recreate dishes at home whenever possible.  Sesame Chicken is traditionally fried and then tossed in a sauce and served with broccoli.  This version isn’t fried to save the calories and mess because who wants to get oil splatters all over their kitchen?

For any stir-fry I make, I velvetize the chicken which is one of the things Chinese chefs do to keep the chicken moist and tender.  If you are like me, then you’ve made chicken at some point only to have it be dry and tough. This secret step combats that with a simple marinade of corn startch, oil and water.

Stir-frying the chicken, then the broccoli and finally tossing with the simple sauce makes this a great, quick weeknight meal.  I serve this over rice (white or fried) or noodles (Chinese egg or rice).  If you make noodles, be sure after you cook and drain them, to toss them with a little sesame oil so you don’t get one big glob of noodles.

Ingredients

1 lb.                  Chicken breasts, sliced into 1 – 2 inch pieces about ½ inch thick

2 heads           Broccoli, cut into florets (about 6 – 7 cups)

3 tbs                 Corn starch

4 tbs                 Canola oil

1 ½ tbs            Sesame oil

1 cup                Chicken stock

¼ cup               Oyster sauce

1 tsp                 Ginger, grated (I use a microplane to grate the ginger and garlic)

1 clove              Garlic, grated

1 tbs                 Toasted sesame seeds

Preparation

In a bowl, velvetize the chicken by mixing it with 1 tbs canola oil, 1 tbs sesame oil, 2 tbs corn starch and 3 tbs water.  Mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes. (I usually prep the rest of the recipe and have everything ready to go once the chicken is done). 

Cook the chicken in a large pan over medium heat with the remaining canola oil, adding more if needed.  Cook the chicken a single layer or you will crowd the pan and steam the chicken so you may need to do more than one batch.  Set the chicken aside once it’s cooked.

For the sauce, combine the oyster sauce, remaining sesame oil, remaining corn starch and ¾ cup of water in a bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape all the little bits off the bottom which should take less than a minute.  Add the broccoli and cover for two or three minutes until the broccoli is tender but not mushy (you should be able to slide a knife easily through a stalk).  Add the garlic and ginger and toss till fragrant, about one minute.

Return the chicken to the pan along with any juices on the plate.  Toss with the broccoli and then add the sauce, mixing well to coat the chicken and broccoli.  Cook for about two minutes till the sauce thickens and coats the broccoli and chicken.  If your sauce is on the thick side, you can simply add some water or chicken stock to thin it out. Mix in sesame seeds and serve.

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