I have a friend who shared a recipe with me he used to make to impress the women he was dating. It definitely impressed me, I’d have dated him! A man who can stir-fry and make his own vegetable broth is a rare find. I was even more impressed with his ideas for making his own vegetable broth in a crockpot.
Of all the times I’ve made batches of chicken, turkey or beef broth using the bones or carcasses, I never thought to make vegetable broth. Craig said he saved his vegetable trimmings, the ends of onions, carrots, celery, etc, and put them in a bag in the fridge or freezer. When he had enough he threw them all in a crockpot and simmered them for a couple of days. He strained the veggies out and saved the broth for his sesame chicken recipe.
Besides being amazed that Craig can actually cook (I’m sorry, I just assumed he couldn’t for so many years it still surprises me), I was disgusted that I’d never thought of the idea myself. I use SO many vegetables I could have been making massive amounts of vegetable broth! I am just ashamed.
I had all of the sesame chicken recipe ingredients on hand. I even had a large bottle of sesame seeds that I’d been meaning to find more uses for before they went bad. I hate when that happens. I toasted them first, putting them into a smaller nonstick skillet over medium high heat and tossing them as they turned a light golden brown. I set them aside in a dish.
Craig said to cut the chicken very thin, and that was no problem as my chicken breasts were still slightly frozen. I had such big breasts that they took several days to thaw in the fridge. I probably could have cut them in half the long way to make them more manageable, but I left them in good sized pieces, albeit thinly cut.
Once the chicken was cut into pieces I added them to a plastic zippered bag and poured in the marinade ingredients. Craig had said the original recipe called for sherry, but to trust him, a cheap white wine was best. I like sherry but it doesn’t fit my idea of an Asian dish so I did use the recommended white wine. My P.S. stocks the wine shelves in our house and I’m not sure if it was cheap. It was good.
To the bag I added what was left of “my soy sauce” the usual bottled variety from the grocery store that is usually popular. My P.S. likes a more designer type that is thick and the top of the bottle makes me cuss a lot when I have to remove it. I don’t know what it’s so difficult! So that is “his soy sauce”. I had to use some of his because I needed more. His is stronger so I used less and added water to thin it a bit. I’d say I used the equivalent of a normal cup of soy sauce, as directed.
There were no seasonings in the recipe and that wasn’t working for me. I added garlic powder and grated fresh ginger to give the recipe some of my “go to” flavors. I zipped the bag and let the chicken pieces marinate in the sauce for a couple of hours.
I sliced the carrots and celery on the bias, as directed. Actually Craig’s directions were something like “slice the celery into radical diagonal slices”. I understood that he meant slanted, or on the bias as the pros say. I sliced the sweet bell peppers (I used a red and an orange) into strips and ignored the direction to use a green pepper, which I don’t care for.
Noticing that he hadn’t mentioned onions, I added them to the mix, liking them in large wedges in stir fry dishes. I started by heating a large nonstick skillet with a little oil and sautéing the carrots first. They would take slightly longer to cook so they’re best started before the other vegetables.
After 3 or 4 minutes I added the celery, onions and peppers and sautéed them for a few minutes.
I added the chicken and stirred it until it was mostly turning color. I didn’t want it to overcook and end up rubbery, which is easy to do when stir frying chicken. When I was sure my chicken was cooked through I removed the chicken and vegetables from the pan and into a bowl.
I added the remaining marinade mixture to the skillet and let it cook over medium heat for several minutes while it reduced and thickened a bit. It was smelling delicious. I dissolved some cornstarch in cold water and stirred it into the pan to thicken the sauce even more. I added the chicken and veggies back to the skillet and let them simmer a few minutes until the rice was done.
My rice was steaming in a covered saucepan on the stove and was ready for plating the food. I put a bed of rice on the plate, layered the chicken and veggie mixture over it, then sprinkled the sesame seeds over it. I added a few chopped lettuce leaves for garnish, per Craig’s directions. Actually Craig’s directions were, “For presentation, you lay down a bed of rice, cover with chicken and veggies, spoon on a bit of gravy and sprinkle with roasted seseme seeds. It should look like sex if you do it right”.
The taste was good, the garlic and grated ginger added nice seasoning to the dish. The wine really wasn’t so noticeable. Sherry might have been a stronger choice. If you’d rather avoid alcohol, a chicken broth would be a good substitute, with a glug of rice wine vinegar to add the splash of acid you’d be missing by not using wine in the marinade.
The sesame chicken was excellent the next day, heated in the microwave for lunch. I forgot to use sesame seeds the next day but it was still full of flavors.
Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry
2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless cut into thin strips (about 2 lbs)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh ginger; grated
1/4 cup sesame seeds
4 cups carrots; sliced diagonally
2 cups celery; sliced diagonally
2 sweet bell peppers; sliced in strips (I used an orange one and a red one)
1 cup vegetable broth (can sub chicken or beef broth)
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Chopped lettuce leaves (optional garnish)
Into a zippered bag put the chicken, wine, soy sauce, grated ginger and garlic powder. Mix and zip bag. Marinate for at least an hour.
Toast sesame seeds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, tossing and flipping until they are golden brown. Set aside in a dish.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium high heat with a little oil. Toss and stir carrots for 3-4 minutes, then add rest of veggies. Stir and fry for 3-4 more minutes.
Add chicken and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken and vegetables from skillet and set aside.
Add remaining marinade and stock to skillet. Let it come to a bubble and reduce slightly. Stir in dissolved cornstarch and thicken further.
Put chicken and veggies back into skillet and stir to coat with sauce.
Serve over a bed of long grain rice, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and chopped lettuce leaves if desired.