Sesame chicken in a bowl over white rice with a pair of chopsticks lifting one piece out.
Photography: Matt Wagemann – Art Direction & Food Styling: Anthony Contrino

My New Year’s resolution was to limit how much I DoorDash.  (Honestly, it’s embarrassing how much I rely on the service.)  With that said, it forces me to cook cuisines that I normally would just take out, like Chinese.  This sesame chicken dish is akin to what you’d find in Chinese-American restaurants, and it’s a great starter recipe if you are not familiar cooking Asian or Asian-inspired cuisine.

Toasted Sesame Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6



  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed (or 2 pounds cubed chicken breast)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • White rice, for serving
  • Scallions, sliced, for serving
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds


  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • MAKE THE CHICKEN. In a bowl, whisk the whites until frothy.
  • Add the salt, brown sugar and black pepper and whisk to combine.
  • Add the chicken and toss until well coated.
  • Add the cornstarch and baking powder and toss to combine; the mixture will become tacky.
  • Bring 4 cups of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a frying pan or wok. Carefully drop the chicken pieces, one at a time, into the hot oil and cook in batches until the chicken is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, for 3 to 5 minutes; drain on paper towels, then transfer to a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, MAKE THE SAUCE. In a small saucepan, combine the peanut oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and scallions.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to fry.
  • Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  • Add the ginger, chicken broth, sake, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir to combine.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water; mix to create a slurry.
  • Add the slurry to the sauce and bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, for 2 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken, add the sesame seeds and toss to coat; serve over white rice and garnish with scallions and a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Course: Meat
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino