Okay, okay, I didn't make this. For all you connoisseurs (spelled it right the first time!!) out there, this is Abigael's Vietnamese Chicken dish on their Pan-Asian menu and it is DELICIOUS! I decided, why can't I make my own signature chinese food for dinner?? And since most Chinese restaurants load up on the salt & MSG (to the dismay of both our stomachs), I collaborated with, and added my own spin on a recipe I came across in my October issue of Food Network magazine (subscription thanks to Avi) to come up with the best version of my favorite cuisine. Here goes:
Sesame Chicken & Vegetables
-4 chicken cutlets, cut into chunks
-5 tbsp. low sodium tamari sauce (preferred brand: San-J)
-4 tsp. toasted sesame oil (tip: always refrigerate sesame oil once opened, it can go rancid very quickly. If you don't frequently use it, as a little does go a long way, buy a small jar, i.e. Trader Joes, and it will last a while in the fridge)
-4 tsp. honey or agave
-Head of broccoli, cut into florets (frozen holds up well)
-Fresh string beans (frozen are just not the same)
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 of a mango, cubed
-Toasted sesame seeds
-Season some flour in a ziploc bag with garlic salt (preferred brand: Lawry's- buy the big container from Costco and use it on practically EVERYTHING- shout out to my aunt) & pepper. Blow air into the bag and add the chicken chunks and shake until all pieces of chicken coated. I have to give props to Avi for that one, the first time I made this, i tediously dipped each cubed piece into the flour-- needless to say, it took forever. For my gluten free readers out there, chickpea flour is my preferred substitute.
-In a measuring cup, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey (if you like it sweeter, go ahead and add more). Dissolve a teaspoon or two of sifted flour (or whatever starch you choose to use) and set aside.
-In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat up canola oil just to cover the bottom, and add the chicken cubes 1 by 1. They only need about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the size and thickness.
-The sky is the limit as far as the vegetables go- you can use snow peas, peppers, but my favorite combination is string beans and broccoli. Blanch the broccoli & string beans (I have one of those plug-in kettles, so I pour boiling water over them in a glass bowl and let them sit covered for a few minutes, just to get the crispness out, but you don't want them to cook too much- a little crunch is good!)
-In a separate saute or frying pan, add 1 tbsp. canola oil, and saute the shallots and garlic
-Once the chicken has cooked on both sides, add the vegis, shallots, and garlic to the pan, and pour the sauce over. Mix it all together to incorporate.
-Add the cubed mango (a touch I took from a dish at Sushi Metsuyan), chopped scallion, and sesame seeds at the end. Serve over brown rice!
There's always time for a goooooood home made Chinese dish :-) and when you make it yourself, you can control exactly the amount of sodium you are putting in, and you can add whatever you want.