Crispy, pan-fried chicken tossed with a sticky, glossy sauce makes this 20-minute honey sesame chicken recipe a sure-fire favourite the whole family will love. Serve with steamed rice or veggies for a fakeaway to rival your favourite restaurant.
Sweet and sour was always my favourite takeaway order as a child, and this recipe feels like a slightly more sophisticated version of that dish. Sweet honey, salty soy sauce and deeply umami sesame oil come together to make a seriously delicious sauce tossed with crispy pan-fried, juicy chicken thigh pieces.
Served with steamed rice and fresh scallions and cilantro, it makes for a very speedy fakeaway that’s also perfect for weeknights.
Traditionally the chicken in this recipe would be battered and deep-fried, but here we’ll just pan-fry the chicken pieces. It works just as well and the cornstarch coating helps to create a light and crispy crust, without the stress and faff of deep-frying. Plus, it’s a whole lot healthier.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Super quick and easy – it takes just 20 minutes to make.
- Full of sweet and salty flavours the whole family will love.
- A great, better-for-you alternative to a typical takeaway.
Nothing in the ingredients list is tricky to find, you can find everything at a regular grocery store.
- Chicken thighs. Skinless, boneless and free-range. I like to use this cut because it’s juicier than chicken breast or tenderloin, but you can use them if you like.
- Vegetable oil. You can use any neutral oil with a high smoke point to cook your chicken pieces – sunflower, rapeseed, canola, peanut or avocado are good options. Just stay away from olive oil as it can burn.
- Cornstarch (cornflour). This ingredient serves two purposes – it gives the chicken a light and crispy crust, and it’s also used to thicken up the honey sesame sauce. If you can’t find it, use regular plain flour.
- The sauce. Use maple syrup instead of honey if you don’t have honey, and swap the rice vinegar for regular white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
How to make it
Toss your chicken with cornstarch and a little salt, then mix the honey sesame sauce. Pan-fry the chicken in a little vegetable oil until golden all over, then remove from the pan. Stir the honey sesame sauce over medium heat until sticky, thick and glossy.
PRO TIP: The reason we’re mixing the sauce separately first, rather than mixing all the ingredients in the pan, is that if you add cornflour straight into a hot pan it can become lumpy. Mixing it with the liquid first will stop this from happening.
Add the chicken to the pan again, and toss it through the gorgeous sauce. Serve with rice and sprinkle with more sesame seeds, sliced scallions and cilantro for a wonderful quick fakeaway feast.
Got a question?
You can – the chicken just may not be quite as juicy as it’s a leaner cut.
You can, and it keeps well for 3 days, stored in the fridge in a covered container. You won’t retain any crispiness on your chicken after storing it in the sauce, so just keep that in mind. You can also freeze it, then defrost it in the microwave (or overnight in the fridge).
I love to add steamed Asian greens (like pak choi or bok choi), or you could toss steamed or broiled broccoli through the sauce with the chicken to add extra greens.
Do you have my free Fakeaway Favourite e-book?
It’s filled with my absolute favourite takeaway dishes you can make at home!
From a quick pad thai and saag paneer, to Korean fried chicken, beef rendang and chicken satay, you’ll love exploring the book.
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If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print