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There are certain foods that I just fall in love with after not making them in a long time. This is one of those dishes that evokes 'comfort' to me and is one of my favorites! I love the firm, juicy chunks of white meat chicken surrounded with a honey sweet coating (sometimes I add orange to this too) and the sesame seeds that add a layer of completeness to the dish. This dish does take a bit of time to prepare but, that just gives me more time in the kitchen which equates with more relaxing downtime for me. This is one of my most requested dishes. ~Enjoy!
For the Marinade:
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup water
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili paste
For Coating & Frying:
3 egg whites
1½ cups cornstarch
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Sesame seeds, to garnish
Scallions, sliced, to garnish
1. To make the marinade, whisk the chicken stock, water, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch and sesame oil in a bowl. Of this mixture, place 6 tablespoons into a zip lock storage bag and add the chicken; seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade in the bowl.
2. While the chicken is chilling in the marinade, heat the 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and chile paste until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add 2 cups of the reserved marinade to the skillet and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture has become a darker brown and thickened. Remove from the heat and cover.
3. To prepare the chicken for coating and frying, whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy; set aside. Combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining marinade in a second shallow dish; mix using a fork until it resembles coarse meal.
4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and from the marinade. Pat the marinated chicken dry with paper towels.
5. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees.
6. While the oil is heating, prepare the chicken for frying. Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
7. Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer the cooked chicken onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Return the oil to 350 degrees. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
8. Warm the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Turn off the heat and add the fried chicken pieces. Toss to coat and serve, sprinkling with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.
Recipe Adapted from: browneyedbaker
Photo by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
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Diane Baker: Owner & Creator of Canning and Cooking at Home