Korean sesame chicken

My teenage BTS* fan absolutely loves this. I mean she reeeeallly loves it, almost as much as she loves BTS. It does make a rather wonderful lets-pretend-we’re-having-a takeout dinner and can mostly be made (sauce) and prepped (chicken + garnishes) in advance. It’s yummy. I don’t see why you couldn’t substitute a firm white fish for the chicken, or even use beef or pork if it took your fancy. Oh and the courgettes are not obligatory, but I’m my mother’s daughter and meals have to include something green somewhere. That’s the law.

*BTS, for the uninitiated, are a South Korean K-pop boy band, and are currently the most popular boy band in the world (I’m reliably informed). I have to admit that they do have some catchy tunes, and wowzers those boys can dance!

Ingredients

Chicken:

600g chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces

1 large egg, beaten

Salt & pepper

1 cup cornflour

Veg oil for frying

Sauce:

2 tbsp unsalted butter

4 minced garlic cloves

3cm fresh ginger, grated

1 courgette, diced into 2cm pieces

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp gochujang

or

pinch +/- chilli flakes

Garnishes:

4 spring onions, sliced

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 red chilli, sliced

Method

  1. Make the sauce by melting the butter in a frying pan, then adding in the garlic, ginger and diced courgette and cook for a minute or so.
  2. Stir in the honey and sugar and stir for a further minute until the sugar has dissolved, then fling in the rest of the sauce ingredients, keep stirring, and cook for a minute more. Set aside.
  3. Prep your garnishes next. Put your sesame seeds into a dry saucepan, heat, and keep them moving with a spatula for 5-8 minutes until they start to brown a little. Watch out though, they can burn quickly so you have to keep an eye on them. Tip out onto a large plate and spread them out to cool and stop cooking.
  4. Slice up the spring onions on the diagonal, and slice the chilli. Set them aside.
  5. Now on to the chicken itself.
  6. Beat the egg in a bowl that’s big enough to hold the chicken and season well. Throw the chicken in there, and toss to coat.
  7. Heat 2-3cm oil in a large frying pan until it reaches 190C.
  8. While the oil heats up, put the cornflour into a wide shallow bowl and add in around 1/3 of the chicken, tossing to coat.
  9. When the oil is up to temperature, carefully lift out the chicken pieces from the cornflour and gently drop them into the oil. Fry for around 4 minutes (flip them occasionally) until cooked though.
  10. Remove to a dish lined with plenty of kitchen roll, and repeat until all of the chicken is cooked. Fling them all back in for a tiny re-heat if necessary.
  11. Heat up the sauce, tip in the cooked chicken and sesame seeds and mix well.
  12. Serve with rice and sprinkle over the spring onions and chilli. Yums yums yums.

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