Making Chinese takeout recipes at home is much easier than you think! This Takeout style Sesame Ginger Chicken Stir Fry recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and tastes amazing!
The sauce is made with easy to find ingredients that you can get in most grocery stores - honey, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions/scallions and plenty of ginger.
There is no need to reach for the takeaway menu, now you can have a healthy stir fry at home.
What is the best pan for stir-fries at home?
Wok cooking is fun and fast, and if you have one then you can definitely use it here. But if you are a 'wok-less' home then don't panic, you can still make this ginger chicken easily.
Because most domestic kitchens don't have the deep high flames wok burners that commercial Chinese kitchen have, it is actually quite hard to get your wok superheated. So a skillet or frying pan can be a great option. The flat base allows the frying pan to have a large surface area over the heat, meaning you can get your pan nice and hot and make a great stir fry in a skillet or frying pan.
How to stir fry chicken
Stir-frying is quick cooking so before you cook your chicken you want to ensure the frying pan/wok is really hot. Once the pan is hot you can add your oil. Give the pan a few cook swirls to make sure the base and sides are well coated before you stir fry the chicken.
Add the chicken carefully to the hot oil and then using a spatula to keep the chicken moving in the pan. This allows the pan to stay hot as you are constantly moving the chicken to a different part of the pan.
Cook the chicken for 3 minutes until no longer pink. Don't overcook your chicken as it can get chewy and dry. (See below for details on how to get the most tender soft chicken)
Why is Chinese takeaway chicken so soft
When you get your takeout/takeaway the chicken is always so soft and tender. This is because Chinese restaurants have clever tricks for tenderizing chicken.
Now you can have this tender chicken at home!!!
How to tenderize stir fry chicken
To get melting tender soft chicken in your stir fry we are going to use Baking Soda!
Baking Soda is also known as Bicarb, Bicarbonate of Soda and Sodium Bicarbonate.
Don't get confused with baking powder, that won't tenderize your chicken and will just leave you with a chewy mess.
Baking soda stops the fibers in the chicken from tightening up so that when you cook it they can't contract like they usually do. This results in super tender chicken!
How to use baking soda to tenderize chicken
- Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces and place it in a non-metallic bowl.
- Sprinkle over the baking soda and stir to ensure each piece of chicken is coated.
- Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes.
- After the marinating time, ensure you wash off the baking soda and then rinse the chicken a couple of times. Baking soda tastes terrible so you don't want any left on your chicken.
- Pat the chicken dry and it is ready to stir fry.
- You can also do this tenderizing stage a couple of hours in advance.
Green Onions, Spring Onions, and Scallions. WHAT??
So many names for what is essentially the same thing!
Green onions and Scallions are the exact same thing. They have a stiff white stalk with green ends and string white roots. They are usually sold in bunches and can be called 'bunching onions'.
Officially a spring onion is a young onion and it has a more bulbous end on it, sort of like a mini pearl onion attached to a white stem with green tops. HOWEVER, in many parts of the world, the term spring onion is used to describe a green onion or scallion!
Confused??? Yup, me too! Trying to name ingredients so that readers from around the world know what I am talking about isn't always easy!
But for this recipe, you can use green onions/scallions or spring onions. They are both perfect for the sesame ginger chicken stir fry!
Fresh Ginger and how to deal with it
The recipe calls for fresh ginger, and you really can't substitute in dried ginger easily. It affects the taste too much.
You can buy fresh ginger easily at the grocery store, it is usually located near the garlic and onions. Fresh ginger comes with a thin brown skin and you want to peel or scrape this off before you use the ginger.
To do this, cut off a 1-inch piece, then take a teaspoon and scrape away the paper-like skin. Once this has been removed you can grate the ginger ready for the recipe. If your ginger is more mature and has thick skin then you can use a paring knife to cut away the skin.
Store your remaining ginger root in a zip lock bag in the deep freeze, it freezes really well and can be peeled and grated whilst still frozen. Winner for the next time you want to make sesame ginger chicken!
Tips for making Sesame Ginger Chicken
- Before you start cooking, measure the sauce ingredients into a large measuring cup or jug. This will ensure it is ready to go once the chicken and veg are cooked and reduce the risk of you overcooking the chicken.
- Use cold stock to make the sauce, this will ensure that the cornstarch/cornflour dissolves fully and doesn't go clumpy.
- Have the garlic and ginger sliced and grated before you start.
- Cut the chicken against the grain and tenderize as detailed above.
What is Chinese cooking wine?
Chinese Cooking Wine is also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. But don’t get it confused with rice wine vinegar, that will not taste good!!!!
You can find Chinese Cooking Wine in most grocery stores in the Asian section with the soy sauce and oyster sauce. If you can’t find Chinese Cooking Wine, just use dry sherry.
You should be able to find Chinese Cooking Wine in your grocery store, but Amazon also has a great range, or if you have one close by, check out your local Asian supermarket, you'll find large bottles really reasonably priced there!
Serve this sesame ginger chicken with rice for a delicious and easy family dinner. A serving of stir fried veg or garlic spinach would be awesome too!
Or add some Mantou Steamed buns!
Other Takeout meals you may love:
- Beef and Broccoli
- Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry
- Happy Family Stir Fry
- Beef and Tomato
- Wandering Dragon Stir Fry
- Chicken and Snow Peas
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Takeout Style Sesame Ginger Chicken Recipe
For the stir fry
- 1 .5 lb chicken breasts - skinless and boneless
- 2 ½ tbsp baking soda - see note 1
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 8 green onions/spring onions
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger - see note 2
- 3 cloves garlic - finely sliced
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
For the sauce
- 1 ¼ cup cold chicken broth - see note 3
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 ½ tbsp Chinese cooking wine - see note 4
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch
Start with tenderizing the chicken
- Cut the chicken into thin strips across the grain.
- Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the baking soda, stir gently to coat all of the chicken. Then cover and let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes.
- Wash off the baking soda and rinse the chicken several times. (See note 5)
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper and set to one side.
Next make the sauce.
- Add all the sauce ingredients into a large measuring cup/jug and stir well. Ensure the broth is cold to stop the cornstarch from clumping.
For the stir fry
- Pour the oil into a heavy-based frying pan and place over high heat.
- Whilst the oil is heating up remove the roots from the green onions and chop them into 2-inch (5cm) length chunks.
- Add the green onions to the oil (be careful it can spit) and stir fry them for 1 minute to flavor the oil.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add in the grated ginger and sliced garlic. Stir constantly for a minute.
- Give the prepared sauce another stir and then pour it into the pan. The sauce will thicken quickly so stir it to coat your stir fry. (see note 6).
- Sprinkle the chicken with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
- Baking soda is also known as bicarb of soda, bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. Don’t get it muddled with baking powder, that won’t tenderise you meat.
- 1 tbsp of grated ginger comes from around a 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger. I like to keep ginger in my freezer to keep it fresh. (plus it is easier to grate!)
- Make sure the broth is cold, this will ensure that the cornstarch/cornflour dissolves fully and doesn't clump together.
- You can buy Chinese cooking wine in the Asian section of the grocery store, but if you can’t find it then you can use dry sherry. (See bulk of post for more information on Chinese Cooking Wine)
- Make sure you wash the chicken really well to remove any traces of baking soda. It is amazing at tenderizing meat, but has a terrible taste so you want to remove it.
- The sauce thickens quickly to that real thick Chinese takeout style sauce. If you aren't a fan of the thick coating takeaway style sauces then you can reduce the quantity of cornstarch to 1 ½ tbsp if you just want a thinner sauce.