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Paleo Sesame Chicken Recipe

4/11/2015 *Sara-Marie* 30 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

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30 comments:

  1. Yum! Going grocery shopping today and hopefully making this for dinner tonight! Where did you find sesame seeds? With other Asian foods I assume? I've never looked for them.

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    1. Yay! Please let me know how it turns out for you! I think I found the sesame seeds with the rest of the herbs and spices. I bought them a long time ago so I don't fully remember. A small jar goes a long way!

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  2. Okay thanks! I'll let you know how we like it! Our plans changed so looks like it will be tomorrow night's dinner instead. :)

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  5. Made this tonight- Fab I added some sesame oil to the sauce mixture delish

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  6. Holy salty Batman! I used less than 3/4 cup aminos and it was still way too salty. My son who will eat anything didn't eat it after 3 bites. The method worked well but the sauce wasn't great. I think if you did more OJ vs aminos it might work. Sorry I hate leaving negative comments but this did not turn out well and was pretty labor intensive.

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    1. Hi Kim! Sorry you had that experience. What brand of coconut aminos did you use? I've never received that feedback before so I'm curious if other brands may be saltier than the one I use.

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  7. Is it okay to substitute coconut flour or almond flour for arrowroot flour?

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    1. Hello! Coconut Flour and Almond flour have different properties that I don't think would work for this recipe. A better substitute would be tapioca flour/starch, though I haven't tested that myself. Good luck!

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  8. Just made this recipe exactly as you had it and it was amazing!!!! thank you so much! Going to start another whole 30 round in March and this will be in my weekly rotation!!!!

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    1. Wonderful! So happy you enjoyed it. Good luck on your next round of Whole30!

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  9. As I was making this I thought "I will never make this again, it is too labor intensive." But then I tasted it...WOW! Reallyi really delicious! I added some red pepper flakes to the sauce for a little extra zip and served it on roasted cauli rice. Labor intensive or not, I'll add this to my regular Paleo rotation.

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    1. Awesome! So glad you found the dish worth the effort. It gets easier the more you make it. The red pepper flakes is a great addition!

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  10. I have chicken breasts, is that OK or does it need to be thigh?

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    1. Chicken breasts would work just fine!

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  11. Hi Sara,
    I am planning on my making this recipe tonight- I've been craving sesame chicken for the longest time! What brand of coconut Aminos do you use? I don't want it to come out too salty. Do you suggest to maybe use some honey in combination with the coconut Aminos? Thanks!

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    1. Hi! Sorry for the delayed response. The brand I use is linked in the ingredient list - just click on the word "coconut aminos." It's the Coconut Secret brand.

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  13. Hi Sara! How many servings is this? Thanks!

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  14. Hi Sara! How long does this take to make?

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    1. 35-45 mins. I can usually do it in about 30 but I'm used to the steps

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  17. loved this recipe. Great recipe for my Whole30 r4d1. I don't miss sugar or sweets. this recipe is very satisfying, i served it with steamed

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  18. I also tried this and way too salty. I used Bragg brand. Not sure that might help the next person. Other than that, I thought it was good.

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    1. Sorry you had that experience! Does Bragg make a "coconut" aminos? I know I've seen Bragg "liquid" aminos which is derived from soy and likely to be saltier than what I recommend. The coconut aminos that I used to create this recipe is linked in the ingredient list. Hope that helps! Thank you for sharing!

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