Sometimes when I cook, I like to experiment and try new and exciting things. Other times, I don’t want to think at all. I just want to put some things in a pan for a little while and then sit down and enjoy it not long after. This sesame chicken recipe is for those other times.
The coconut rice is something that I see in varying forms attached to a lot of recipes. It’s a great side dish and very simple, but I find that a lot of the recipes neglect to give the rice a quick rinse after cooking and it can end up a bit claggy due to the residual starch.
The cinnamon stick adds a nice subtle undertone to the rice that I love for this recipe, although a kaffir lime leaf can be a nice alternative if you don’t like cinnamon. What’s great about coconut rice with this recipe is how the light, sweetness of it compliments the sharpness and saltiness of the sesame chicken.
Marinades are always a great way to add tons of flavour without going to a huge amount of extra effort. They also have the benefit of allowing you to prepare a meal ahead of time, so that past you can look out for future you. Think of future you for a change! If you really can’t wait, you can just marinade the chicken for 15 minutes before you eat and it will still have a lot of flavour.
Prep Time 15 minutes (+2 hours to marinade)
Cook Time 20 minutes
- 400g chicken thighs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 50ml (1/5 cup) rice wine
- 1 clove garlic (diced or crushed)
- 1/2 lemon (juice)
- 1 tsp diced ginger
- 1 small bunch chives
- 400ml (1.75 cups approx.) coconut milk
- 400ml (1.75 cups approx.) water
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 2 cups jasmine or basmati rice
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- Non-stick pan
- Small saucepan
- Chopping Board
- Tongs or chopsticks
Marinading the Chicken
- For the marinade, start by adding half of the rice wine to a bowl, then add the sesame seeds, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, garlic, mirin and the lemon juice to a bowl and mix all ingredients together well.
- Chop the chives nice and finely (you want to do this before you cut the chicken so your board isn’t contaminated with raw product).
- Now take the chicken thighs and remove some of the fat. Thigh often has thick, white fat that needs to be removed, so clean it up a bit before using it.
- Once the fat is removed, slice the thighs into large strips (about 2cm wide and 10cm long) and place them into the bowl and marinade for as long as you want to before cooking (about 2 hours is a good start, but overnight is always better).
The Coconut Rice
- Pour the coconut milk and water into a small saucepan and add the cinnamon stick. Add a pinch of salt and the sugar as well and place on the heat to boil.
- Once the liquid has come to the boil, add the rice and give it a stir. Cook it for about 10 minutes (it can take more or less depending, so it’s always best to taste the rice yourself to make sure it is cooked to your liking).
- Strain the rice and give it a very quick rinse under hot water, just to take off some of the starch.
- Remove the cinnamon stick before serving (they tend to splinter so watch out for the little bits!)
Cooking the Chicken
- While the rice is cooking, put some oil in a non-stick pan and get it to a high heat.
- Using tongs or chopsticks, take the chicken from the marinade and place it in the pan, shaking off excess liquid beforehand.
- Brown all of the chicken nicely on both sides and then pour the remaining marinade in.
- Let the marinade reduce until sticky, turning the meat through it as it cooks.
- Once the marinade has reduced, add in the other half of the rice wine to deglaze the pan and get all of the extra juices off it.
- Add the chives and toss them through. Garnish with coriander.
This sesame chicken recipe has that sweet and sour kick that I love, while also offering an aromatic, toasted note from the sesame seeds. It is extremely well-rounded and also extremely simple.
I use chicken thigh for this recipe because I think it is generally a more flavourful cut than breast and I prefer it overall. However, if you don’t like thigh or find it too fatty, you can use breast here instead.
You could also add a bit more of everything in the marinade and use it for an entire roast sesame chicken! Just make sure you stuff the lemon up inside the cage of the chicken to get that zestiness permeating in the oven!