Search This Blog

Paleo Sesame Chicken Recipe

4/11/2015 *Sara-Marie* 25 Comments


I've always had a soft spot for Chinese takeout, but ever since we started following a Whole30/Paleo diet, we have limited our intake to very infrequent occasions. It would always taste great in the moment, but later on we would feel sick to our stomach and wonder why we ordered it to begin with. This recipe, however, is equally delicious and leaves you feeling great and ready to continue on your health journey with no interruptions, no tummyaches, and no guilt.

The last couple of weeks I've been experimenting with using Coconut Aminos to create a clean, guilt free sauce I could use for quick stir fry dinners. The taste reminded me of Chinese takeout so I started to research how to make "Chinese Style Chicken" recipes like sweet and sour, orange, and sesame chicken. I took a little bit from a couple of different recipes and landed with this deliciously clean, Paleo, and Whole30* approved version of what reminds me of Sesame Chicken. 

*If you have a serious obsession with Chinese takeout, this could be considered "swypo", as per the Whole30 guidelines. To me, it's just a healthier version of a popular dish and I would have no problem eating it during a Whole30 along side plenty of veggies or over some salad greens. Your call though.

The method to making this dish taste legit may sound a little labor intensive, but it's actually quite easy. I decided to show the steps in pictures, so you can get a good idea of what is happening along the way. Succinct instructions will follow at the end :)

Paleo Sesame Chicken Recipe - Step by Step!

1. Make your sauce: in a food processor or blender, combine coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute), orange juice, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. Set aside.
Use a piece of fresh, peeled piece of ginger the size of about your thumb or 1 inch.

Coconut Aminos, garlic, ginger, and orange juice about to be blended up!

2. Prep Chicken: cut about 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and place into a large ziploc bag. I was able to cut each chicken thigh into about 6 pieces.

I know, raw chicken isn't pretty, but you get the idea.
3. Coat chicken: Add 1/2 cup of arrowroot flour/starch to the chicken pieces, zip up the bag, and shake what your mama gave ya until all pieces are well coated.

This is the kind of arrowroot flour I buy - it's relatively inexpensive compared to other flour substitutes and works perfectly for this recipe.

This is what your chicken pieces should look like after a good shake with the arrowroot flour.
4.  Heat up a bit of avocado oil (or other healthy oil of your choice) over medium to medium high heat in a large heavy pan. You want the oil pretty hot, but not burning.

5. Egg bath: While the oil is heating, in a shallow dish, beat 3 large eggs and toss the chicken pieces, in batches, to coat on all sides. Once each batch is coated with the egg, you'll want to proceed to step 6 and then back again to step 5 for each batch.
Coat each chicken piece in the egg on all sides, working in batches, and proceeding to the next step.

6. Once the oil is hot, fry each chicken piece until golden brown on each side, about 30 seconds a side. You are not trying to fully cook the chicken, just create a nice crust. Work in batches and repeat Step 5 & 6 until all pieces are fried.

You're looking for that nice golden brown, crispy but chewy crust.

Transfer each batch to a plate and continue to repeat steps 5 and 6 until all pieces are fried.
7. Clean your pan: I'm a big fan of limiting the number of pans to wash, so I recommend you carefully wipe out the pan you were working in so that you can use the same pan for the rest of the recipe.
I use a pair of tongs and some paper towels to wipe out any excess oil left in the pan.
8. Combine everything: Over medium heat, pour in the sauce we created in Step 1. Let it come to a simmer and then nestle all of the fried chicken pieces back into the pan.

Fried chicken pieces simmering in the sauce.

9. Simmer and watch sauce reduce: Simmer chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sauce has reduced to the nice thick sauce you would expect from Chinese takeout. Then, liberally sprinkle sesame seeds over cooked chicken.

Here the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a nice thick sauce. I then sprinkled the sesame seeds all over.
10. Spoon your Paleo Sesame Chicken into a bowl with roasted vegetables or on top of a salad for a complete meal. Garnish with fresh scallions and enjoy!


Paleo Sesame Chicken Recipe

Recipe Ingredients:
1.5 - 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup of arrowroot flour
3 large eggs
Avocado oil, enough to coat a pan and fry all pieces

For the Sauce:
3/4-1 cup Coconut Aminos (Use the lesser if you have 1.5 lbs instead of 2 lbs of chicken, and/or you prefer things a little less salty)
1 cup orange juice, no sugar added, all natural 
4 garlic cloves
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled, about the size of your thumb

Garnish:
Sesame seeds
Chopped fresh scallions

Recipe Directions:

1. Make your sauce: in a food processor or blender, combine coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute), orange juice, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. Set aside.

2. Prep chicken: cut about 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and place into a large ziploc bag. I was able to cut each chicken thigh into about 6 pieces.

 3. Coat chicken: Add 1/2 cup of arrowroot flour/starch to the chicken pieces, zip up the bag, and shake what your mama gave ya, until all pieces are well coated.

4.  Heat up a bit of avocado oil (or other healthy oil of your choice) over medium to medium high heat in a large heavy pan. You want the oil pretty hot, but not burning.

5. Egg bath: While the oil is heating, in a shallow dish beat 3 large eggs and toss the chicken pieces, in batches, to coat on all sides. Once each batch is coated with the egg, you'll want to proceed to step 6 and then back again to step 5 for each batch.

6. Once the oil is hot, fry each chicken piece until golden brown on each side, about 30 seconds a side. You are not trying to fully cook the chicken, just create a nice crust. Work in batches and repeat Step 5 & 6 until all pieces are fried.

7. Clean your pan: I'm a big fan of limiting the number of pans to wash, so I recommend you carefully wipe out the pan you were working in so that you can use the same pan for the rest of the recipe.

8. Combine everything: Over medium heat, pour in the sauce we created in Step 1 into the cleaned out pan. Let it come to a simmer and then nestle all of the fried chicken pieces back into the pan.

9. Simmer and watch sauce reduce: Simmer chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sauce has reduced to the nice thick sauce you would expect from Chinese takeout. Then, liberally sprinkle sesame seeds over cooked chicken.

10. Spoon your Paleo Sesame Chicken into a bowl with roasted vegetables or on top of a salad for a complete meal. Garnish with fresh scallions and enjoy!

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Until next time!

XOXO,
SMP

25 comments:

100 Days of Whole30 - Results are In!

4/08/2015 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

No cheats. No slips. No excuses. For 100 Days, I followed the Whole30 program and I couldn't be more thrilled by the results. Now, I'm not a newbie to the Whole30. My first adventure was in August 2012 and before this year's Whole100, I had completed 4 previous rounds. With every previous round, I would lose 5-6 pounds and then try to keep to 80/20 paleo.  Some weeks would be better than others and those 5-6 pounds would slowly creep back on - usually in the form of bloat. I decided at the end of 2014, that I wanted to REALLY make this a way of life. I REALLY wanted to change my habits for good. The last 100 days have done exactly that.

I would say the first 30 days were just like every previous round - I felt better, had clearer skin, lost 5 lbs, but I had a list of things I still craved and desired. Then around Day 40, I had another dose of the magic. Something I hadn't experienced previously. My cravings were really diminishing. I was feeling GREAT, and my body was really changing. I was actually quite surprised on Day 61 that I hadn't lost any more weight because my body looked so different. On that day, I decided to break up with the scale for good because it truly does not tell my story.

The days kept flying by and it became easier and easier to remain on plan. I turned down my mother's lasagna at a family gathering without a problem. I wasn't even tempted to eat pizza during a get together at my husband's Crossfit Box. Off plan foods just weren't even interesting anymore. I honestly craved my nutritious and delicious foods that I had made a habit of creating every day. I fell in love with red cabbage and if you're following me on Instagram you have noticed that I've eaten it almost every day since I've discovered that I loved it.

My Whole100 Results
  • I decided to not weigh myself today because for the first time in forever, I don't care what the scale says. Coming from a person who used to weigh herself multiple times a day, this is a huge victory for me. 
  • When I look at the progress photos above, I know that my body composition has changed. I'm less bloated and I'm down a dress/pants size. That tank top is an XL and I can now fit in a Medium sized shirt.
  • I lost 1 inch off my waist and 2.5 inches off my hips.
  • I've seen major progress in the gym - I've hit new PRs on my front squat and deadlift and I've been able to run during workouts without needing to take walking breaks. 
  • I've solidified these new healthy eating habits and choosing real food, all the time, is just my new normal.
People keep asking me what I'm going to do now. If I've ordered a pizza or stuffed my face with a cupcake yet. And the answer is I'm eating the same stuff I ate yesterday and the day before. It's delicious and makes me feel great - why would I go back? Sure, if someone had a delicious, freshly baked cupcake in front of my face right now, I would consider eating it. But the difference is that before, just the thought of a cupcake would trigger my cravings and I would be heading straight to the kitchen to satisfy my sweet tooth. Instead, I have no compelling feeling as I type this.

I  think I've finally taken control of my relationship with food.
It no longer controls me - I am in charge.
I am Whole30.

XOXO,
SMP

1 comments:

Blackberry Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

4/01/2015 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments


This Blackbery Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe came about by accident. Or was it fate? My local grocery store had organic blackberries for 50% off because they were nearing their end of life. I scooped up two packages at $2.50 each and felt like I stole something.

I had seen somewhere about making a blackberry balsamic reduction so I started doing that with my half priced beauties. Once it was done, I thought it needed a little bit more life, so I started adding lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Yummy. Then I thought - I should totally make this into a dressing! So I pureed the reduction with light tasting olive oil until it was the consistency I was looking for.  It still needed a little something so I looked around my kitchen and my basil plant caught my eye - yes, this needed a fresh herb! So I threw in some basil leaves and pureed it again. Delicious. Next time, I will just chop the fresh basil and stir it in. I think seeing the green specks would be pretty!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that yesterday, I topped my salad with the vinaigrette and this morning I topped my sweet potato hash and eggs with it. I think this would be delicious on meat, seafood, eggs, salad greens, veggies...anything really!


Side Note: Less than a week until I complete my Whole100! Woohoo!

Blackberry Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Recipe Ingredients: 

6 oz package of blackberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Zest of one lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup light tasting olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
8-10 fresh basil leaves

Recipe Directions:

1. Add blackberries and balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan. Smash the blackberries with a fork. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer, and let simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until reduced by half.

2. Add blackberry balsamic reduction to a food processor or blender and add remaining ingredients on the list, except for the fresh basil. Blend until well combined.

3. Chop up the fresh basil and stir it in to the vinaigrette.

Enjoy!

XOXO,
SMP

0 comments: