Tender chunks of chicken covered in a sesame flavoured sauce, served with a bowl of vegetable chow mein, packed with crunchy vegetables. Fakeaways don’t get much better than this!
Easy sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein
Sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein has got to be one of my all time favourite dishes for when the Chinese craving hits. It’s got all the Asian flavours that combine so well together – ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame. And the best thing about making it at home is that you know exactly what has gone in to it, and you can adjust the flavours to suit yourself.
The chicken is coated in a light tempura batter and fried to a crispy golden brown, then covered with a delicious Asian flavoured sauce. The vegetables are lightly steamed to release their juices, and then mixed with similar flavourings, before being tossed with the noodles. I love the flavours of the sauce poured over the juicy chunks of chicken. And the way the vegetables crunch, with each mouthful of sauce-coated noodles.
Some people like to combine the chicken with the noodles, and make this a one-pan meal. I prefer to keep the two separate, and there is a good reason for this. When the fried chicken is mixed with the sauce, the sauce gets absorbed by the batter, and the wonderful flavours of the sauce cling to the chicken, adding a whole new depth of flavour. Of course, you could still mix the chicken and noodles together after coating the chicken with the sauce, but I think that would dilute the flavour on the chicken somewhat.
If you prefer, you can substitute the chicken with shrimp (or prawns if you live in England). The steps in the recipe would remain the same.
Chow mein literally translates to stir-fried noodles. Chow meaning stir-fried, and mein meaning noodles. I’ve actually taken the liberty of steaming the vegetables rather than stir-frying them, but I hope you agree that it still tastes just as good as your favourite takeaway.
How to make sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein
You can get the complete recipe on the printable recipe card below.
It’s all about the preparation. Once all the ingredients have been prepared you can have this dish on the table in 20 minutes or less. There are 6 easy steps for the preparation, and once that’s out of the way, the meal almost cooks itself.
- Peel and chop the vegetables. Cut the celery into 1cm dice. Shred the cabbage and slice the onions and mushrooms finely. Cut the carrots into julienne strips. Rinse the beansprouts under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in a bowl. You should allow approximately 1.5 cups of vegetables per person, so for 4 people you will need about 6 cups chopped vegetables.
- Make the batter. Break 2 eggs into a mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt and then add 4 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch. Mix well to remove all the lumps. You should have quite a thick batter. If the batter is very runny, add more cornflour/cornstarch, a teaspoon at a time, until a spoon drawn through the batter leaves a trail.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Transfer the chicken to the batter and leave to stand. For this recipe I have allowed 110g / 4oz chicken per person. You can increase this for larger appetites.
- Mix the vegetable sauce. Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar. Mix to dissolve the sugar and set aside.
- Mix the chicken sauce. Dissolve the chicken stock cube in boiling water. Allow to cool slightly. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and vinegar. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch to a smooth paste with a little cold water and stir into the chicken stock.
- Cook the noodles. Put the noodles in a pan of boiling salted water and allow to boil for about 7 minutes (or according to the instructions on the packet) until softened. Drain into a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave the noodles in the colander to drain completely. I use thin dried Chinese noodles that I get from the Asian aisle of my local supermarket. If you can’t get any, you can use instant Ramen noodles instead.
Make the vegetable chow mein
- Stir-fry the onions, garlic, ginger, celery, carrots and cabbage very quickly in hot oil, just to coat them.
- Then turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover with a lid and allow the vegetables to steam in their own juices until they are soft but not mushy. This should take about 5 minutes. The moisture from the vegetables turns to steam which hits the lid of the pan and drips back down onto the vegetables, thus keeping them moist.
- Add the beansprouts and mushrooms, replace the lid and steam for another 3 minutes.
- Taste the vegetables to see whether they are cooked to your liking. If you feel they need a little longer, just replace the lid and steam for a minute or two more.
The vegetables should not be dry, there should be quite a bit of moisture from the steaming process. However, keep your eye on the vegetables while they are steaming. If they look as though they are drying out, add a few tablespoons of water.
- Now add the prepared vegetable sauce and stir through, then add the cooked noodles to the vegetables and toss to coat with the sauce and combine with the vegetables.
- At this point I like to test for seasoning. I have deliberately not added salt to the list of ingredients, as I find soy sauce normally adds sufficient saltiness. If you feel the dish needs a little salt, now is the time to add it. And as always, add a little at a time – remember, you can put it in, but you can’t take it out!
- Stir over the heat for a minute or two, just to warm the noodles through.
- Transer to a serving dish and keep warm.
Make the sesame chicken
- Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and add the chicken, a few pieces at a time. Keep the heat on a medium setting or the chicken will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked. Stir to keep separate and allow the chicken to fry until it turns golden brown and is no longer pink on the inside.
- You will probably have to do this in batches to get a nice golden coating on the chicken. Do not put too much chicken in at one time as this will cause the pan to lose heat and the chicken will release moisture and stew rather than fry.
- Once brown, drain on kitchen paper and set aside while you make the sauce.
- Pour the chicken sauce mixture into the same pan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. A spoon will leave a trail in the sauce when it is thick enough.
- Add the fried chicken pieces to the sauce and stir to coat.
- Stir the chicken over the heat until it has warmed through, then transfer the chicken to a serving dish, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve alongside the chow mein.
Recipe – Easy sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein
Easy sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Small bowls to hold ingredients
- Mixing jug
- Wok or frying pan with lid
- Serving bowls
- 1 large onion finely sliced
- 2 stalks celery cut to 1cm dice
- 2 medium carrots julienned
- 1/2 small cabbage finely shredded
- 3 ounces (150g) mushrooms sliced
- 3 cups beansprouts rinsed
- 2 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
- 2 tablespoons sunflower or canola cooking oil
- 1 packet Chinese noodles (250g / 8oz)
Chow mein sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 pound chicken breasts 450g (allow 4oz / 110g per person)
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil for frying
- 2 large eggs
- 4 to 6 tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
Sesame chicken sauce
- 2 cups chicken stock made with 2 stock cubes and 2 cups boiling water
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon cornflour / cornstarch
- Peel and chop the vegetables – cut celery into 1cm dice, shred the cabbage and slice onion finely, cut the carrots into julienne strips, rinse beansprouts in cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towel.
- Mix batter for chicken – break 2 eggs into a mixing bowl and add 4 tablespoons cornflour and ½ teaspoon salt (or to your own taste. Whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is quite thick. If the batter is very runny add more cornflour, a teaspoon at a time, until the batter leaves a trail when you draw a spoon through it.
- Cut chicken and coat with batter – cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and mix into the batter. Leave to stand until you are ready to fry the chicken.
- Mix the chow mein sauce – combine all the ingredients for the chow mein sauce and set aside.
- Mix the sesame chicken sauce – dissolve the chicken stock cubes in 2 cups boiling water. Add all the ingredients for the sauce except for the cornflour/cornstarch. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch to a thin paste with 2 or 3 tablespoons cold water and mix into the chicken stock. Set aside until needed.
- Cook the noodles – bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add salt to taste, then boil the noodles for approximately 7 minutes, or until soft. (You can also follow the instructions on your packet of noodles). Drain into a colander and then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave in the colander to drain completely, until needed.
- Heat 2 tablespoons sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan (with a lid), then add the onions, garlic, ginger, celeery, carrots and cabbage. Stirfry briefly, just to coat them with oil. Then turn down the heat to a low simmer, cover the pan with a lid, and allow to steam for about 5 minutes.
- Add the beansprouts and mushrooms, stir through, replace the lid and steam for a further 3 minutes.
- Taste the vegetables to see if they are cooked to your liking – if they are still to crispy, replace the lid and steam for another minute or two.
- Add the chow mein sauce and stir through to coat the vegetables.
- Add the noodles and stir through. Test for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Stir over a low heat to warm the noodles through, then transer to a serving dish and keep warm while you cook the chicken.
- Heat 2 tablespoons sunflower oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time. Stirfry until golden brown and no longer pink on the inside. (Cut a piece open to test).
- Cook the chicken in batches and drain on paper towel. Keep warm while you make the sauce.
- Pour the chicken sauce mixture into the frying pan and bring to the boil. Stir until it thickens.
- Add the chicke pieces ad stir to coat.
- Stir over a low heat until the chicken has warmed through.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and serve alongside the vegetable chow mein.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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