The Best Sesame Chicken (Korean Fried Style)
The Best Sesame Chicken (Korean Fried Style)
Summer’s over and the weather’s about to become crisp! Speaking of crisp, as much as I love my Instant Pot, it cannot do everything and sometimes I like to go back to the “old-school” method of cooking, stove-top style with some fun pan-fry action!
This here recipe is the poster child for making the absolute crispiest, flakiest, juiciest, golden-brown and most delicious chicken wings one can crunch. We’re talking restaurant quality here but even BETTER. The secret is in the ridiculously simple, dry batter we coat our wings in.
And then I’m gonna sauce it up with the most incredibly sweet, delicious (and easy) honey sauce that is amongst the highest ranks of the best sesame chicken sauce you’ve ever had. But the beautiful thing here is that it’s all about the FRY method. From there, you can really sauce the wings up however you want! But regardless of the sauce you use, the end result of the crispiness and juiciness of the wings will absolutely blow you away – guaranteed.
Here’s How I Made It!:
Begin with a bunch of chicken wings/wingettes/drumettes.
Rinse them off and then place them in a bowl.
Season them with some kosher salt…
…and black pepper.
Then, we have our secret ingredient that will make these wings the crispiest, most delicate wings you’ve crunched into: Potato Starch!
If you cannot find Potato Starch (or don’t want to get it online), you can use Corn Starch instead.
Add it to the chicken bowl as well (and you can also season it up with any other spices you desire such as a little cayenne if you want it spicy or garlic powder).
Mix everything up by hand.
And you’ll see that the starch will stick amazingly well to the chicken. No wet mess here! Just make sure each piece of chicken is totally coated/packed with the starch mixture…
…so it looks like this one done. Set aside.
Go to a nice big skillet/frying pan and add in some oil. I used this 12″ skillet that’s about 3″ deep which is ideal for pan frying. Give it heat so the oil gets nice and hot for frying the chicken.
After a few minutes of heating, test the oil to see if it’s hot enough by putting the edge of a wing in it. If it begins to bubble, even softly, it’s ready.
Add as much as the chicken to the pan, making sure you use tongs to separate them while they fry as the starch will make them want to stick together.
Flip the wings over mid-way through frying for even cooking and also move them around in the pot for even heat distribution.
When done frying, they will be a lovely golden color. Take the tongs…
…and place the chicken in a paper towel-lined bowl. Let them rest there for a couple minutes – but don’t let them get TOO comfortable. The secret to making these wings PERFECTLY CRISPY is by double frying!
Lower the heat a bit on the stove and then add the chicken wings back into the oil.
Fry for another couple minutes on each side until they’ve become a serious hue of golden-brown. (By they way, using a fry splatter screen will come in handy here if you wish to minimize any oil splatter on your stove)
Remove them with the tongs again and place them back in the bowl and allow them to cool and rest.
Now it’s time to make the most unbelievably sweet (but not too sweet), honey sauce that is so easy to make, it’s almost silly.
Take some ketchup (yes, you read that right)…
Mix it all together and you’re gonna have a sauce that is amongst the best of any sesame chicken sauce on earth.
Pour the sauce into another, small skillet/frying pan and heat it up.
Smooth the sauce out and constantly stir it as it heats.
Once it begins to bubble (which will be very quickly), turn off the heat.
And once the bubbled die down, coat each piece of chicken in the sauce…
…and then place in a serving dish!
Since I’m doing this, sesame chicken-style, sprinkle on some sesame seeds.
And then marvel at the beautiful Sesame Chicken Wings you’ve just made!
Here’s how you eat them: show them off…
…bring to the mouth and marvel at the serious crunch factor that is going to happen once your teeth make contact by sinking into the most paper-thin, crisped perfection of these wings with the most outrageous sesame chicken sauce.
Lick your lips because you’re also going to realize that not only is the texture and sauce 5-stars, but the chicken itself will be SUPER juicy and tender!
And continue to make love to your food.
- The Chicken:
- 2-4 pounds of chicken wings/wingettes/drumettes, rinsed OR 2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup of potato starch (preffered) or corn starch
- 24 ounces vegetable, corn, or canola oil, for frying (I used this 12″ skillet that’s about 3″ deep which is ideal for pan frying. If you use a smaller skillet, use less oil)
- The Sauce (For using 3-4 pounds of chicken. If using 1-2 pounds of chicken, halve the sauce ingredients. Also, see the “Jeffrey Sez” section for more sauce ideas):
- 1/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (optional, for some savory flavor)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for spice and common for General Tso’s-style)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for spice and common for General Tso’s-style)
- The Topping:
- Sesame Seeds (for Sesame Chicken-style)
- Dried red chili peppers, for garnish (typically for General Tso’s-style)
Using a fry splatter screen while frying will come in handy here if you wish to minimize any oil splatter on your stove. Just place it on top of the pan while frying.
If you want it to be classic and crunchy Sesame Chicken like at the best Chinese restaurants, use chicken breasts cut into bite-size chunks instead of wings!
If you want it General Tso’s-style instead of Sesame Chicken, simply leave out the sesame seeds and add in cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes and dried red peppers for garnish (as noted in the ingredients list)
Prior to saucing, the wings will retain their crispiness for at least 24 hours! So feel free to only sauce the wings you’re eating now and then sauce any leftovers later just before re-heating and serving!
This is the ultimate way to make any wing with the perfect crisped texture. And if you’d rather them with a different sauce, go for it! Feel free to toss the finished wings in buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, garlic-parmesan sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc. The sky’s the limit!
If you want the sauce to still have that amazing honey flavor, but would rather the sauce be a honey BBQ instead of sesame chicken-style, sub BBQ sauce for the ketchup!
If you want the wings naked, simply add some additional seasonings of your choice to the potato/cornstarch mixture in step one. That can mean some cayenne if you want it spicy or garlic if you want it that way!
- In a large bowl, mix with the chicken with the salt, pepper and potato or corn starch by hand until each piece of chicken is totally coated. Set aside
- Add the oil to a large skillet/frying pan and set the burner to high heat. Allow the oil to get hot for about 5 minutes. The oil will be fry-ready once you add a piece of the chicken and it begins to bubble (dip an end of a wing in to test). Leaving the temperature on high heat, add as much as chicken to the pan as possible (you can do this in batches if you don’t have enough room) and cook for 10 minutes total – turning the chicken over after 5 minutes on each side with tongs. (NOTE: Be sure to occasionally moving the chicken around for even cooking and to ensure the wings separate from one another as they will want to stick together due to the starch coating)
- After 10 minutes of frying, remove the chicken from the skillet and place in a large paper towel-lined bowl for 2 minutes to rest. Turn the heat on the stove down to medium-high.
- Because we want the chicken VERY crispy in true Korean-style, we will double fry them. Add the wings back to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes on each side. They should be a beautiful golden brown and have a hard, crispy shell when done. Use the tongs to remove the chicken and place in the paper towel-lined bowl again and let rest
- Make the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients in a bowl, mixing well and then adding to a new frying pan/skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and stir until it bubbles (this will happen very quickly). Once it bubbles throughout, turn the heat off and once the bubbles die down, coat the chicken wings in the sauce right in the pan (either one piece at a time or a few at a time is fine)
- Transfer the coated chicken to a serving dish and sprinkle sesame seeds (for Sesame Chicken) or dried red chiles (for General Tso’s) on top
- Enjoy with my white rice or brown rice!