February 2, 2012

Spicy Stir-Fried Sesame Chicken with Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms

My husband is OBSESSED with stir-fries.  I don't complain because a) I like them, too; b) they're usually fairly healthy; & c) he makes them, so I don't have to cook!  We got a new cookbook for Christmas & John has been working his way through all the new stir-fry recipes.  They've been okay, but this one, this one, wins the prize.  It was so good!  It's a little bit of work, but it's worth it.  I highly recommend using this "velveted chicken" recipe for all future stir-fries.  It'll blow your chicken mind!

Spicy Stir-Fried Sesame Chicken with Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms

Adapted from The New Best Recipe

Serves 4


1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Asian chili sauce
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Peanut oil
*1 recipe Marinated Velveted Chicken for Stir-Fry with 1 tbsp sesame seeds added to the flour mixture
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed, & cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced 1/8 inch thick
Jasmine rice (optional)


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup water
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour

1.  Combine the soy sauce, sherry, & water in a medium bowl; add the chicken & stir to break up the clumps.  Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.

2.  Mix the sesame oil, cornstarch, & flour together in a medium bowl until smooth.  Drain the chicken in a mesh strainer.  Toss the chicken in the cornstarch-flour mixture until evenly coated.  Use immediately.


1.  Whisk the chicken broth, soy sauce, sherry, chili sauce, sugar, cornstarch, 2 tsp of the sesame seeds, 1 tsp of the sesame oil, & 1 tsp of the garlic together in a small bowl until combined.  Combine the remaining 2 tsp garlic, the ginger, & 1 tsp peanut oil in a small bowl.

2.  Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet (we used cast iron) over high heat until smoking; add half of the chicken in a flat even layer.  Cook, without stirring but gently separating the pieces, until golden brown on the first side, about 1 minute; turn the chicken pieces & cook until lightly browned on the second side, about 30 seconds.  Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl.  Repeat with an additional 2 tsp peanut oil & the remaining chicken.

3.  Add 1 tbsp peanut oil to the now empty skillet; heat until just smoking.  Add the green beans & cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute; add the mushrooms & stir-fry until the mushrooms are lightly browned & softened, about 3 minutes.  Push the vegetables to the sides of the skillet to clear the center; add the garlic-ginger mixture to the clearing & cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant & golden brown, 30-45 seconds, then stir the mixture into the beans & mushrooms.  Continue to stir-fry until the beans are tender-crisp, about 30 seconds longer.  Return the chicken to the skillet.  Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add to the skillet; reduce the the heat to medium & cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened & the chicken is cooked through, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining 1 tsp sesame oil, & sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp sesame seeds.

Serve over jasmine rice.

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