Sesame chicken – a.k.a. sweet & salty tastebud nirvana.
Our Chinese take-out extravaganza continues with this vegan, sugar-free, and Plant Paradox-friendly rendition of Sesame Chicken. It’s quick, taking only 40 minutes from start-to-finish, it’s crispy, featuring battered coconut oil-fried tempeh, and it’s reminiscent of your favorite childhood Chinese restaurant’s greasy, MSG-packed chicken.
Ahh yes, Chinese take-out is a cuisine packed with bold flavors that’s always quick to make, and has the downright most indulgent foods on the face of this Earth. LET’S GET IT.
Ever wondered what the differences between all the different Chinese take-out dishes are? The answer is: not that much. Nope, Chinese restaurant owners don’t have the time or space to store a thousand ingredients, which is why they rely on the versatility of a few reliable pantry staples. When it comes to seasoning, they often reach for: rice vinegar, soy sauce, chilis (sauce, dried, or paste), and sugar. For batters & doughs, they like to keep around: cornstarch, all-purpose flour, and eggs. For oils, they stick to toasted sesame oil for its flavor and plain, temperature resistant vegetable oils for their affordability and resourcefulness, as they can be re-used over and over again.
While we may no longer embrace all of these ingredients, we do have to pay respectful dues to those who paved the way for us, filling our lives with blissful delight; without their knowledge, we wouldn’t be here converting such dishes into healthy alternatives.
When I see ingredients like eggs, cornstarch, and sugar, I no longer even think of them as what they are. Instead, I immediately think of their alternative, such as aquafaba & flax for eggs, tapioca & arrowroot starch for cornstarch, and erythritol & stevia for sugar. Using these alternatives, we can replicate the flavors and textures that we love using similar methods as traditional cooks.
Anyways, what I was getting on about earlier is that there isn’t much difference between Chinese take-out dishes. For instance, the difference between Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken is that one contains chilis and one contains sesame seeds minus the chilis. Don’t ya just feel the slightest bit lied to?
Never the less, this makes matters easy for you and me, because once you’ve created one, you already know how to create the other. Given these dishes are twins (albeit, not identical), this sauce is almost exactly the same as our General Tso’s sauce.
All in all, this chicken is:
- Sweet & savory
- Lectin-free, sugar-free, vegan, and grain-free
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Go Forth & Devour,
Kim & Ryan
Plant Paradox-friendly Sesame 'Chicken' (vegan, gluten-free, & sugar-free)
Tender tempeh, battered and fried in coconut oil until crispy, and tossed with thick, sweet & savory sesame sauce.
- 8 oz tempeh, cut into thin squares
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 5 tbsp (50 g) tapioca starch
- 5 tbsp light or cartonned coconut milk
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 5 grinds black pepper
- 1/2 c water
- 1/4 c + 2 tbsp (72 g) erythrtiol
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 3 tbsp chinkiang vinegar (or sub rice vinegar)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- 2 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp chili paste (use linked recipe for lectin-free)
- 1 head blanched broccoli
- resistant starch white rice or cauliflower rice
- In an airtight container, shake together water, tamari, vinegar, erythritol, starch, and chili paste until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a small pot over medium heat. Once hot, add in sesame oil, ginger & garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sides of the garlic just begins to brown.
- Transfer starch mixture into the pot, crank the heat up to medium-high, and bring to a boil stirring frequently. Then kill the heat and set aside, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping.
- Place tempeh pieces into a large saute pan or wok. Add enough water to barely cover the tempeh. Stir in rice vinegar & tamari and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until all the water has evaporated then turn off the heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together starch, flax, onion powder, black pepper and coconut milk until smooth. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, then add cooked tempeh into batter and toss to evenly coat.
- Place 3/4 c coconut oil into an 11-12 in sauté pan and melt over medium heat; allow to heat up for at least 5 minutes (if it start’s smoking, turn the heat down).
- To the coconut oil, add in half of the battered tempeh pieces. Cook until each side is golden brown; approximately 3 minutes per side. (It’s only necessary to cook it on two sides.)
- Transfer tempeh to a cooling rack inverted onto an upside down cookie sheet with a layer of paper towels in between. The paper towels wick away excess grease without holding it against the tempeh.
- Repeat steps 7 & 8 for the second batch of tempeh. While tempeh fries, re-heat sesame sauce over medium-low heat.
- In a large bowl, toss tempeh with 1/2 c of sesame sauce plus 1 tbsp of white sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately with resistant starch white rice or cauliflower rice plus extra sauce, if desired.