A Chinese takeout staple, Honey Sesame Chicken is fried crisp with a sticky-sweet sauce, and finished with a shower of toasted sesame seeds. This version of the American-Chinese classic hails from Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperto taste
¾pound(12 ounces) boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders,cut into ½-inch-by-2-inch strips or 1-inch cubes
Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil,as needed
1tablespoontoasted white sesame seeds
For the batter, mix together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder, then add the egg white, water, and oil. Stir until smooth, and set aside for 30 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, stir the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl, then add the chicken and toss gently to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the honey sauce by mixing all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for when the chicken is cooked.
Pour enough oil into a 2-quart saucepan or deep fryer to come to a depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°F.
Use a large slotted spoon to remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer into the batter mixture. Turn to coat. In batches, using large tongs or chopsticks, drop battered chicken pieces into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes, as needed, turning over once or twice throughout cooking for even browning (I typically fry this in 3 batches). Drain in a single layer on paper towels or on a metal cooling rack.
Heat the honey sauce mixture in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring until the mixture bubbles (don’t overcook or it will become caramel). Remove from the heat.
Add the fried chicken pieces into the sauce and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the top and stir once more. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.
Because the chicken pieces for this honey sesame chicken are battered, you should NOT fry them in an air fryer. Not only would it make a mess, but the batter won't set properly. Deep frying or shallow frying is the way to go for these.
I recommend using an electric deep-fryer (I have an old version of this one passed down from my grandmother!). It does a great job of maintaining the oil temperature without any stress. I actually remove the fryer basket because it takes up room and would require me to use even more oil to get the depth I need. Instead I fry directly in my fryer and use a spider skimmer to remove the cooked pieces of chicken.