Archive for January 2nd, 2011

02
Jan
11

The Greater Joy of Cooking and the Perfect Sesame Chicken


The pace, pressures and responsibilities of our daily lives often make us feel like life is running us instead of the other way. Thursday night was a fortunate slice of moments lived well. I got some precious time with my teenage son who had returned from Yeshiva for the weekend. He was hungry and was in the mood for something different. Hunting through cookbooks and the net, he opted for sesame chicken.

We followed an easy recipe he found on allrecipes.com. As we prepared, mixed and measured, we schmoozed and caught up on our week. We waxed philosophical, we laughed, retuned and and cooked a wonderful meal that was gone in record time.

Perfect Sesame Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 quart olive oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Sift flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl. Pour in low-sodium soy sauce, sherry, 2 tablespoons water, vegetable oil, and a dash of sesame oil; stir until smooth. Stir in chicken until coated with the batter, then cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth, sugar, vinegar, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Dissolve 1/4 cup cornstarch into 1/2 cup of water, and stir into boiling sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens and turns clear, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and keep sauce warm.
  3. Heat olive oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to a temperature of 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Drop in the battered chicken pieces, a few at a time, and fry until they turn golden brown and float to the top of the oil, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. To serve, place fried chicken pieces onto a serving platter, and pour the hot sauce overtop. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds to garnish.

Serve with rice – Yields 6 servings.

We had some sauce left over and a chicken was on the counter destined for the Shabbos table. Instead of spicing it my usual way, I used the leftover sesame chicken sauce to baste and baked it at 375 F. till golden – about 90 minutes. It tasted moist,  sweetly delicious, with a balanced chili powder kick. Everyone loved it! Bypassing the fatty fried part of this classic sesame chicken recipe while retaining the essence of it’s  flavor was a cool guilt-free variation. Im a big believer in Ms Frizzle’s (The Magic Schoolbus) famous mantra “take chances, makes mistakes. Get messy!

Susie Fischbein certainly had the right idea about spending time with your kids in the kitchen, we’ve been doing it for years and it’s a chilled way to catch up, bond, create new memories spiced with the joy of being together.

Enjoy!

SYR

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