It’s been a loooong time since I have blogged a recipe (motherhood takes a lot out of you), but I after being so happy with this recipe and having so many requests for it, I had to do it.
Sesame chicken is my go-to Chinese dish when I get take-out. I love the sweet, sticky sauce with the crispy, tender chicken- just perfect. However it took me awhile to find a take-out place that made it just right. When I moved into my new house a few years ago, we went “Chinese restaurant hopping” until we found a place that made it to our liking. I like a bright, sweet, sticky sauce that is slightly thick but not gloppy, and the chicken must be tender (not over-cooked) with nice chunks of white meat. Bonus points if it stays crispy after sitting in the sauce.
We got an air fryer over the summer, and we both agree it was one of the best purchases we’ve made. The air fryer we got was a pretty large one that could take the place of our toaster oven (we don’t have room for both). So our toast is also air fried now as well.
I love cooking chicken in the air fryer because it actually comes out crispy! A coating of panko on skinless chicken or a seasoned flour mixture on chicken wings with a spritz of oil always seems to do the trick. It comes out crispy and juicy every time (just be careful not to overcook it).
I got the idea for this recipe after making a version of traditional fried sesame chicken. It was delicious, but I figured, why not try to achieve the same result but with the air fryer? I used panko to get the chicken crisp, and I changed the sauce recipe a bit (my husband and I both thought it needed a bit more sweetness), and the result was completely delicious!
This is definitely going to be a staple in this house. Yum.
2 large (or 3 small) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. canola oil
1/3 soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
Sesame seeds for garnish
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté the garlic for a minute, then add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, honey, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir until all of the ingredients are well-combined. In a small bowl, mix the water and cornstarch and then stir it into the sauce. Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat to low and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Combine the flour and salt in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish whisk the eggs with the milk, and in another shallow dish place the panko. Dip the chunks of chicken first in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the panko, being sure the chicken is completely coated. Place the coated chicken on a sheet pan.
Spray both sides of each piece of chicken with the oil (you can use a spritz bottle with vegetable oil or use cooking spray). Place the chicken in the basket or on the rack of the air fryer, being sure that the chicken is not overlapping (do this in batches if necessary). Air fry for 5 minutes, then flip the chicken and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. The cooking time depends on the size of your chicken chunks and also the size of your air fryer, so keep your eye on it.
Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the chicken. Toss to coat all of the chicken with the sauce. Place the chicken on a platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.