I'm a huge fan of chinese take-out. There's something about all those little containers of food that simply makes me happy. The husband, however, is not a fan. I'm not sure if he's ever even had it, but whenever I do, he says it smells up the house and won't even taste it. I don't indulge very often and when I do I usually swell up terribly from all the sodium that I can't even get my wedding ring on. Which, oddly enough, doesn't make me stop craving it. For me it's the ultimate in comfort food.
When I spotted these recipes for lighter, at-home versions, I was intrigued. I've never tried to re-create my faves at home before. Which is weird now that I think about it since I love to cook so much. (I've made many stir frys, but that's usually just using up whatever we have left in the house.)
Both these recipes are quite similar, pretty much the sauces are different, and both were a huge hit. The husband loving the sesame one more and myself loving the General Tso one more. They were both high on the indulgent-feeling, comfort food factor and we ate both with chopsticks which was fun.
General Tso's Chicken - adapted from this recipe via The Chew.
1/2 cup cold water
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 sliced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/12 cups rice
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
4 scallions (green parts only)
1 pound broccoli cut into florets
Prepare rice per instructions on package.
In large ziploc bag, add cornstarch, chicken, salt and pepper. Shake to mix. Heat oil in large skillet. Shake excess coating off chicken and cook in batches until golden, 4-6 mins.
Steam or blanch broccoli. Drain, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Add garlic, ginger, honey soy sauce and red pepper flakes.
Add sauce mixture to cooked chicken over medium heat until sauce is thickened (about 2 mins)
Plate with rice, adding broccoli, scallions and sesame seeds.
Sesame Chicken - adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
*This can also be a vegetarian dish, just replace the chicken with extra-firm tofu and the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sesame oil
5 teaspoons honey
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
2 green onions, thinly slices, white and green parts separated
1 T freshly grated ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 head broccoli cut into small florets
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
hot cooked brown rice
In a medium bowl whisk together 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. sesame oil and 2 tsp. honey. Add chicken, toss to coat and let marinate for 20 minutes. Remove chicken with slotted spoon and discard marinade.
Heat 2 Tbsp. sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Cook chicken in batches, 6 mins or until cooked through. Remove and set aside.
Steam broccoli until crisp-tender, 4-5 mins
In a small bowl whisk together broth, remaining soy sauce and honey, cornstarch, vinegar and chili paste until smooth. In same skillet (as chicken was cooked) heat 2Tbsp. sesame oil over med-high heat. Add white parts of scallions, ginger and garlic 1-2 mins or until fragrant. Add sauce to skillet, cooking for 2-3 mins until thickened. Stir in remaining 1 tsp. sesame oil. Add reserved, cooked chicken.
Spoon chicken, sauce and steamed broccoli over hot rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.