My husband and I love to get takeout, but there is no doubt that it is loaded with calories, fat and sodium. Luckily, this spicy sesame chicken recipe hits the spot and keeps us on track with our healthy eating goals. I love to serve Simple Steamed Garlic Broccoli and Cilantro Brown Rice with this dish to give it that takeout feel!
First things first, our Cilantro Brown Rice is going to take the longest to cook so I started with that. I learned from my mother-in-law to always rinse the excess starch off of the rice. Just do it! It will be better, trust me!
Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan, then add rinsed rice. Bring rice back to a boil, cover and turn down to a simmer. After a few minutes fold rice a couple times (don’t stir!) and re-cover for about 35 minutes. Mince fresh cilantro and set aside until rice is cooked.
Next, stir cilantro into rice. That’s it! I definitely recommend you to try using brown rice over white. Brown rice is a whole grain and is a good source of several B vitamins and high in fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we make half of our grains whole each day. (You can find more information about grains at www.choosemyplate.gov)
Now for the star, Spicy Sesame Chicken! I assemble my flour and black pepper mixture, and then toss chicken pieces in to coat. For this recipe I used all-purpose flour because that is what I had, but if you have whole wheat, go ahead and use that for added benefits of whole grains! Yay fiber!
Be sure to coat chicken completely and shake off the excess flour really well.
Place your dry pan on medium heat. Add a single layer of chicken; you will need to cook in batches.
You may need to adjust the temperature depending on your stove. Since we are cooking in a dry pan, the flour can burn easily, so keep an eye on it. The goal is to cook the chicken through, slightly browned, and not burned! This chicken recipe is great because you are going to be able to enjoy a lower calorie Asian inspired favorite that offers great protein and flavor!
Set aside the beautifully cooked chicken; wipe out pan. Add in the remaining ingredients (brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil) and cook on low heat. I always recommend choosing ingredients low in sodium to use in my recipes, like the low sodium soy sauce, so I can control the amount of salt in my dishes. I found that just a tablespoon of chili sauce gave the dish a nice mild heat, but if you want it extra spicy feel free to add more! Cook on low until the sugar is dissolved and all the ingredients are combined into an amazing, thick sauce!
Toss chicken in sauce to coat …. yum!
Next, toast the sesame seeds in a separate dry pan on low heat for just a few minutes. Be careful, they can burn easily! This brings out a lot of delicious flavor that really adds to the dish! Sprinkle over chicken.
Lastly, I love this Simple Steamed Garlic Broccoli to serve as a side. It not only brings a bright fresh green color to the plate, but fulfills the goal of making half of our dinner plate veggies (or ¼ fruit and ¼ vegetables, see www.choosemyplate.gov for more information).
Simply steam broccoli (see instructions below), grate in garlic cloves, toss and enjoy! Broccoli is a delicious and versatile veggie that is a great source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, and vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting! When selecting fresh broccoli, choose heads where the floret are tightly packed!
I love to make my Simple Steamed Garlic Broccoli and Cilantro Brown Rice to go with my Spicy Sesame Chicken. Try using chopsticks to give it that take-out feel! Plate up and enjoy!
Spicy Sesame Chicken
by Caitilin Perez, RD/N
4 servings (4 oz. chicken before cooking each)
1 lb. chicken breast, boneless, skinless and cut into cubes or strips
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar, light or dark
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sriracha chili sauce
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1) Slice chicken breast into 1 inch cubes or 2 inch strips, set aside.
2) Whisk flour and black pepper together in a large bowl. Toss chicken into flour mixture and coat completely. Shake off excess well.
3) In a DRY non-stick pan on medium heat, add chicken. Be sure not to over crowd the pan and cook in batches. (TIP: temperature may need to be adjusted so the chicken doesn’t brown too quickly before being cooked through). Set cooked chicken aside.
4) Turn burner off and wipe out excess flour from pan. Next, add: brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce to pan. On low heat stir ingredients until sugar is dissolved and sauce is beginning to bubble. Add in chicken and stir to coat several times.
5) In a separate small pan add sesame seeds on low heat, swirling occasionally, until browned.
6) Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds and enjoy!
Cilantro Brown Rice, Simple Steamed Garlic Broccoli
NOURISHING NUTRITION (per serving)
Calories: 213 Fat (g): 6.4 Sodium (mg): 370 Protein (g): 27 Carbs (g): 10