Better Than Takeout Sesame Chicken Stir fry

This better than takeout sesame chicken is a marinated chicken stir fry recipe in which the chicken is stir-fried using less oil than the battered and fried version. Make it juicy and saucy with a secret ingredient low-sugar sauce that has tons of flavor!

Is sesame chicken healthy?

Takeout sesame chicken is usually coated with batter and deep-fried, then mixed with a sweet sauce to get you addicted. With this recipe, you’ll learn how to make an easy marinated chicken stir fry that has the same (addictive) results with a few tricks I’ll be telling you in a few minutes. Once you learn that, you’ll never deep-fry your chicken again!

The only thing you’ll miss in this better than takeout sesame chicken recipe is the crispiness (and the added calories). That’s more than compensated by soft and melt-in-your-mouth chicken achieved by tenderizing and marinating it in the sauce before stir-frying. I bet you’ll eventually find this low-calorie recipe more delicious than the fried one.

This is another addition to my easy chicken recipes with a few basic ingredients. For a quick and easy dinner, serve this sesame chicken with plain boiled rice. Make it a healthy Asian dinner recipe, by doubling the chicken marinade and using the other half to stir-fry vegetables. This is an absolute time-saving method that I recommended for scrambled tofu stir fry, too.

How to tenderize chicken breast with baking soda

Velvetting is a very easy way to tenderize boneless chicken breasts, especially when you want to stir-fry. After a bit of research and trying various techniques from brining to soaking, I found this to be the most effective. You will be blown away by the difference it makes to the chicken breast!

Clean and chop the chicken breast into 1-1/2 inch cubes. For every 250 grams of chicken, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Mix well and allow it to soak. After 20 to 30 minutes, rinse the chicken a couple of times. That’s it! Your chicken is now tenderized and ready to be stir-fried, baked, sauteed, or whatever you want to do with it.

Boneless chicken cubes marinated in baking soda in a white bowl.

This not only works for stir-fries like the chicken in fried Bee hoon recipe or stir-fried chicken with red rice but also for other forms of cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts like easy baked chicken breasts. Since these baked breasts are already tender and juicy, you may not find much of a difference, but it makes a WORLD of difference to marinated chicken stir-fry!

My Latest Videos

Spicy chicken marinade for stir fry

  • Oyster sauce: This is the secret ingredient that gives this sesame chicken its characteristic mouth-watering flavor, color and saucy consistency.
  • Soy sauce: One of the basic ingredients for Asian stir-fries. Low sodium soy sauce is better if you can find it. If not, use the regular one.
  • Rice vinegar: For a splash of tang.
  • Sesame oil: Gives the final glaze to the sauce.
  • Red chilli flakes: This is a moderately spicy sesame chicken recipe. Adjust the quantity according to taste.
  • Black pepper and salt: Though we use soy sauce, a dash of salt and pepper makes a difference to the flavor of the sauce.
  • Brown sugar: Just a little to balance the spices. You can replace brown sugar with honey to make this a honey sesame chicken stir-fry.

Other stir-fry ingredients

  • Peanut oil for frying.
  • Lots of Garlic for the aroma.
  • Sesame seeds for garnish. (after all, it is sesame chicken!)
  • Chinese parsley for garnishing. Green onions can be used instead.
Marinated chicken cubes with other labelled ingredients for stir fry.

Marinated Chicken Stir fry- Step by step instructions

Marinate tenderized chicken with the sauce for about 15 minutes.

Heat peanut oil in a wok or deep pan. Stir-fry garlic for about 2 minutes until you get a pleasant aroma. Do not let it brown. Add marinated chicken cubes.

Stir-fry for 5 minutes on high heat. Now comes the important step: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and stir-fry for 5 more minutes. Repeat with 2 more tablespoons of water and stir-fry for 5 more minutes. This process first browns chicken on the outside then adding water steams and cooks the chicken thoroughly, while making it soft and juicy. This is the secret to the better-than-takeout sesame chicken!

Garnish with sesame seeds and Chinese parsley. Enjoy with a bowl of rice.

Additions and substitutions

  • A teaspoon of finely chopped ginger can be added with garlic.
  • Green onions can be substituted for Chinese parsley for garnishing.
  • For greater “umami” (a glamorous word for meaty!) flavor, add a teaspoon of ground dry mushrooms. I’ve explained how to make it in Singapore street noodles recipe.
  • My favorite hack to turn this into a spicy chicken stir fry with vegetables: Double the amount of sauce and add vegetables like bok choy, carrots, bell peppers and baby corn. Marinate chicken as above with half the sauce. After cooking the marinated chicken for 5 to 10 minutes, add vegetables and fry for 5 minutes. Finally add the other half of the sauce and stir-fry for 5 more minutes until everything comes together. Garnish and serve.
Marinated chicken stir fry with rice in a white bowl with chopsticks.

Tips to make better than takeout sesame chicken

  1. Do not skip the tenderizing step. That’s what makes this a great chicken stir-fry recipe.
  2. The entire stir-frying process should be done on high flame. If you feel that chicken is getting burnt, sprinkle water or feel free to add a little oil.
  3. A pinch of salt and pepper enhances the flavor. (I used to think that soy sauce can replace salt, but salt does make a difference!)

Common questions

What is the healthiest oil for stir-fry?

Peanut oil is one of the oils that have a high smoking point. This makes it suitable not only for stir-frying but also for deep-frying. It also has a delicious nutty flavor that goes well with Asian flavors. Sesame oil has a lower smoking point. It is used either to marinate or towards the end of cooking. It is used to give a glaze to stir-fries rather than for frying.

How to make sesame chicken easy?

The easiest and healthiest way to make sesame chicken is to marinate the chicken in the sauce and then stir-fry with aromatics and optionally with vegetables. It gives the same saucy consistency as fried chicken but without the crispiness and all the calories that come with it.

How can I make stir fry more exciting?

This chicken stir fry is already bursting with flavor. You can add more flavor by adding 1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce. Sprinkle some roasted peanuts or other nuts like almonds and cashews for added crunch. Herbs like cilantro and spices like cumin or coriander can also add a delicious twist to the stir-fry. Use apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar for a fruity taste.

Looking for more chicken recipes?

Closeup view of better than takeout sesame chicken stir fry with rice in a white bowl.

Better than takeout sesame chicken stir fry recipe

This better than takeout sesame chicken is a healthy recipe in which the chicken is stir-fried using less oil than the battered and fried version. Learn how to make this easy marinated chicken stir fry with a secret ingredient sauce…
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Tenderizing time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 3
Calories 342 kcal

Ingredients
  

To tenderize

  • 500 grams Boneless chicken (1.1 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking soda

For the marinade

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • A pinch of salt

To stir-fry

  • 2 tablespoons Peanut oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves finely chopped

To garnish

  • 2 tablespoons Sesame seeds toasted
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese parsley or green onions

Instructions
 

To tenderize chicken

  • Clean and chop the chicken breasts into 1-1/2 inch cubes. Add 2 teaspoons baking soda and mix well. Let it soak for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 to 30 minutes, rinse the chicken cubes a couple of times and pat them dry with kitchen towels.

To marinate chicken

  • Whisk all ingredients for the marinade until the solids dissolve. Add to the chicken, mix well and let it marinate for 10 minutes or longer, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To stir-fry

  • Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a wok or deep pan. Stir-fry the finely chopped garlic until you get a nice aroma, but not browned.
  • Add the marinated chicken (and all of the marinade) and stir fry for 5 minutes on high flame.
    Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and fry for 5 more minutes.
    Repeat with 2 more tablespoons of water and stir-fry for 5 more minutes. Turn off the flame.
  • Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and parsley. Serve on a bed of hot boiled brown/white rice.

Notes

Additions and substitutions
  • Add finely chopped ginger when you fry garlic.
  • Substitute honey for brown sugar to make this a honey sesame chicken stir fry recipe.
  • Roasted peanuts or cashews can be sprinkled for added crunch.
  • Green onions can also be used for garnishing.
How to make chicken stir fry with vegetables
Double all the ingredients for the marinade. Marinate chicken with one half and reserve the other half. Choose stir-fry vegetables like bok choy, bell peppers, carrots, string beans and baby corn. Slice them into thin strips. They should make roughly about 2 cups. 
After stir-frying the chicken for 5 minutes, add hard vegetables like beans and carrots and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Then add softer vegetables that cook faster, like peppers and bok choy. After stir-frying for 3 more minutes add the reserved sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce thickens and adds a glaze.
A quick tip: In this case, you may not have to sprinkle water, since the vegetables add moisture to the dish. Depending on the vegetables you use, the water content may differ. Sprinkle water only if the sauce gets dried up while cooking.
Better Than Takeout Sesame Chicken Stir fry
Keyword Easy chicken stir fry, Healthy chicken stir fry sauce, healthy Chinese chicken recipes, healthy sesame chicken recipe, low calorie sesame chicken stir fry, marinated chicken stir fry, sesame chicken marinade, sesame oil chicken recipe, spicy chicken marinade

★★★★★Did you try this recipe? Please give a star rating in the comments below.★★★★★

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Join over 1000 home cooks like you who subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get all the latest recipes right in your inbox.

Or follow me on your favorite social media: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Thank you and happy cooking!

– Sheeba.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2021

6 thoughts on “Better Than Takeout Sesame Chicken Stir fry”

  1. 5 stars
    I followed this recipe exactly, and while the end result was delicious it did not have the reddish colour and was not sticky! I don’t know what may have gone wrong, are you able to advise?
    One thing I did notice is that it says to stir fry the garlic for 2 minutes, do not let it brown, but I found it was browning within seconds.
    I used a wok, on a high gas heat (wok burner ring on Range cocker)

    1. Hi Steve, thank you for the rating and taking the time to comment!
      The reddish color depends on the brand of sauce (soy sauce and oyster sauce). You can try to add 1/2 a teaspoon more oil to brown the chicken so you are satisfied with the color!
      This recipe is not sticky because we use less sugar! I like my sesame chicken to be more spicy than sweet. If you like it sweet, feel free to add 1/2 or 1 teaspoon more sugar.
      It is ok fry the garlic for a minute less if it starts browning too early. The hint to stop frying garlic is when you get a nice (and not burnt) aroma!

      1. Hi Sheeba, thanks for the reply! I was happy with the colour, nicely browned, but was expecting red so just wondered if i’d done something wrong. We really liked the dish, the only thing i’d like is more sauce with the chicken. Could you recommend how to adjust the recipe for this at all?

        1. Of course! For the same quantity of chicken you can double or even triple all the ingredients including water (except peanut oil). Use the portion of the sauce to marinate as mentioned in the recipe, reserving the additional sauce. Add it after you stir-fry the chicken for 10 minutes. Bring it to a boil and let it thicken for about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the flame. Garnish and enjoy!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Easy Vendakkai Poriyal (Ladies finger Fry) in Microwave Spicy Baked Fish with Lemon, Dijon and Garlic Crispy Prawn Fry Recipe Savory Mashed Pumpkin (With Coconut) Easy Italian Pasta Salad with Balsamic Dressing Better than takeout sesame chicken stir fry Simple Chana Salad (Indian Salad with Chickpeas) Baked Cod with Panko Crumbs Healthy fried bee hoon (Singapore street noodles recipe) Smoked Paprika Salmon with Mango Salsa (Pan-fried/Baked)