When I was growing up in the middle of nowhere, USA, my family loved “exotic” (ha!) Chinese restaurants. When we were really little, we used to go to a restaurant called The Hawaiian, which was Chinese food with cheap plastic leis and Easter Island figures everywhere. All I can remember from those days was ordering Shirley Temples and eating the maraschino cherry. At some point, when my mother started passing out from the MSG in their food, we switched to another Chinese restaurant. That’s where I discovered lemon chicken, which I considered to be the best Chinese restaurant dish, and I never felt the need to order anything else. My brother always ordered General Tso’s chicken. My mom always got steamed white rice with steamed vegetables (you know, moms). My dad was more adventurous, and didn’t always order the exact same thing like the rest of us.
Then my mother became close friends with the owner of a different Chinese restaurant. That place had a buffet. So you know how that goes. We would end up drinking at least a gallon of tea each, and I finally had the chance to try something besides lemon chicken. I branched out to General Tso’s, and that was all I needed to know. Between lemon chicken and General Tso’s chicken, my dessert-as-entree needs were pretty well covered. The sugar high was countered by all the Sweet n’ Low in the tea, I suppose.
A few years later, a friend introduced me to sesame chicken. It’s basically General Tso’s with sesame seeds. But somehow, that one little bit of extra flavor made all the difference between cloyingly sweet and cloyingly sweet but also interesting. Although I’ve since tried many kinds of “Chinese” food, sesame chicken is probably the one I miss the most, now that I can’t have any of it. (Except that I can, of course, as long as I make it myself. It did take me a few years to realize that, though.)
All of that by way of introduction because there’s not really that much to tell you. We’re going to do this the… ehem… “healthy” way. We’re not breading anything here. That’s just taking things a little too far, don’t you think? Stirfry some chunks of skinless, boneless chicken breast or chicken thigh (thigh is more authentic, but breast is fine too). When they’re just about fully cooked, sprinkle on the sesame seeds and keep stirring. This will gently toast the seeds, releasing their flavor.
Spoon a few tablespoons of our yummy homemade General Tso’s Sauce onto the chicken and stir.
Serve over steamed white rice with steamed broccoli.
(I actually used turkey breast when I made this. Meat doesn’t fit our budget, so I almost never have it in the house, but I found a great sale on turkey breast, so… ta da !)
1 tsp peanut oil (or sesame or olive oil)
350g chicken (breast or thigh), skinless and boneless, cut into chunks
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1/4 cup General Tso’s Sauce
1. Prepare the General Tso’s sauce according to the recipe here.
2. Stirfry the chicken chunks in the oil.
3. When the chicken is cooked through, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and stir gently to distribute and toast the seeds. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, stir briefly, and serve over steamed white rice with steamed broccoli.
You might also like:
Greek lentil soup
Raisin walnut whole wheat bread
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Another good one for me to try with a bunch of cooked turkey I have in the freezer. I just got back from kid’s hockey practice after skipping dinner and this is making my mouth water!
How do you cook your rice? I noticed that rice at greek restaurants is a bit more yellow, like yours shows in the pictures. Are you cooking it with olive oil?
most Greeks do use olive oil in their rice, but I don’t. The rice I used here is parboiled Thessaloniki rice (from Greece) – parboiled rice is my least favorite kind of rice and I would never buy it, but I found it at a really really good sale price so I couldn’t say no – that is why it’s that color, I think. I always cook rice the same way: with a little water in a pressure cooker. It takes about 5 minutes (same for parboiled as for regular) or 8 minutes for brown / whole grain rice.
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