Lighter Sesame Chicken

lighter sesame chicken
I love sesame chicken with broccoli, but the take-out version is fried and loaded with fat and calories.  This recipe is a modification of a great recipe that I found on Woks of Life (which is a great cooking blog BTW).   The chicken is baked instead of fried, and the results are incredible.  I’ve added lots of fresh broccoli to up the veggie quotient.  Serve with brown or white jasmine rice and you have a healthy meal.

There are a number of steps to this recipe and making it from start to finish takes about 40 minutes, but it is well worth the effort.  As with all stir-frys, the key is to have all of your ingredients prepped in advance so that everything comes together nicely in the short cooking time.  I have broken down the recipe into the most efficient order to do things and so that the rice is ready when you are ready to serve.  

Lighter Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

A healthy alternative to the take-out classic.
Servings: 3


Marinate the Chicken

  • 8 -10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp Xaoxing wine or dry sherry

Prepare the Rice

  • 1 1/5 cups jasmine rice rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/5 cups water

Dredge and Cook the Chicken

  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper

Prepare the Vegetables

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced on the bias

Prepare the Sauce

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 TBSP dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Make the Stir Fry

  • 1 TBSP corn starch + 1 TBSP water mixed into a slurry
  • 1 1/2 tsp canola or peanut oil
  • 1 TBSP XaoXing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds


  • Preheat oven to 475.
  • Toss chicken slices with the marinade ingredients and set aside.
  • Combine rice and water in a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow to continue cooking, covered, while you make the rest of the dish.
  • Combine flour, sesame seeds and salt and pepper on a plate or in a shallow dish and dredge chicken slices in the mixture. Lay chicken slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the top rack of the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Turn oven to broil and cook for 3 more minutes, then remove chicken from the oven.
  • While the chicken is in the oven, cut up the vegetables and combine the ingredients for the sauce.
  • After you have taken the chicken out of the oven, begin the stir fry by heating a large skillet or wok on medium heat and mixing together the cornstarch slurry in a small bowl or cup.
  • Add the oil and swirl is around to coat the pan.
  • Add the garlic and fry until fragrant ~30 seconds
  • Add broccoli and cook for another 1-2 minutes until broccoli has just barely started brighten in color.
  • Add wine and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add sauce mixture and stir, then immediately re-mix the cornstarch slurry and add to the pan and cook until sauce has thickened to a glaze.
  • Add chicken pieces and toss well to coat all chicken and broccoli with the glaze.
  • Remove pan from heat and toss in scallions.
  • Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds.


Adapted from The Woks of Life
sesame chicken


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