Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fantabulous Food! Honey Garlic Sesame Chicken

It has been a seriously long time since I last posted a Fantabulous Food! This doesn't mean I haven't been making many awesome dishes lately, just that I haven't been photographing the processes. I have had more of a desire to share of late, so I'm sure they will start becoming a regular post again :)

This week's Fantabulous Food! recipe is actually from Disney's EPCOT resort. One of my favorite recipe sites is AllEars.Net - a website devoted to everything Disney, mostly with park info, but they also have the recipes page :) I have no idea how they obtained these recipes, but they are no joke the exact recipes used to make the delicious creations around the Disney parks. They even have quite a few dishes that are from the Food and Wine Festival. I had a hankering to try something new in the kitchen for dinner, and this Chinese recipe struck  true :) This dish is served in the Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China area of Epcot. You're welcome :)

Honey Garlic Sesame Chicken:
  • 10 - 12 oz chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp chicken base (not bouillon - it's a paste)
  • dash of white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1. Mix all marinade ingredients, taste to see if you need more sugar or salt. The chicken base tends to already be a bit salty, so be sparing with the salt. The marinade should taste a bit salty (since it's so concentrated), but not too much so. Combine marinade with chicken cubes and stir to coat. Allow chicken to sit for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp (heaping) baking powder
  • 1/2 a beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • pinch of salt
2. Combine all batter ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until batter is mostly smooth and big lumps are gone. Set aside.
Honey Garlic Sauce:
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
3. Combine all sauce ingredients and stir until honey and sugar have dissolved into the vinegar. Set aside.
4. After you chicken has marinated for 30 minutes, heat about 1.5" - 2" of canola oil in a deep pan. You will want to maintain a temperature of about 320°F while cooking - if it's hotter then your batter will brown and burn before your chicken is cooked through. Arrange your bowls so the chicken and batter are close to the frying pot.
Using tongs, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, shake off excess,
and gently place it in the oil. Continue placing chicken pieces in the oil until your oil surface is about 2/3 full (this will ensure they all have enough room to expand and brown evenly). Cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side.
Remove cooked chicken with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel covered plate. Repeat this process until all the chicken is cooked.

5. Once chicken is fried, heat your sauce mixture in a wok or rounded-edge pan.
When the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat off. Add your fried chicken pieces and turn them in the sauce until they are coated on all sides.

6. Serve chicken immediately with steamed rice - Enjoy!
This recipe was seriously delicious. I've never really put in the effort to make real Chinese food at home before, but this recipe is the real deal and tastes like it came from PF Changs. It was a little more time consuming than I thought it would be, but that was because I made a double batch of the chicken so it took forever to fry it all. This batter is honestly my go-to recipe now - it's so light and crispy, not thick and heavy like a Southern style batter.
It's just enough of a batter to add a crunch and hold the sauce well. Also, it may seem silly to marinate the chicken in such a small amount of liquid, but it is so worth it. Do not be tempted to add more to the marinade - the sesame oil is a strong flavor and it is very noticeable in the finished dish. My husband could not stop complimenting this dinner and he seemed very excited that you could really eat the chicken without the sauce - it was that good. I love that you can make everything the same but change the sauce if you want, you could make this into sweet and sour or orange chicken with no additional work - heck, you could even use a bottled sauce if you really wanted to.

I'm so happy to have this recipe added to my repertoire :) I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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