Takeout style sesame chicken

College students like takeout. That’s pretty much a fact. Yet somehow, I went half my freshman year before I caved and decided to get takeout at Joy Yee, an Asian restaurant chain in the Chicago area.

sesamechicken (3 of 4)

I thought I wouldn’t like it, mostly because I tended to like more authentic Asian food—sushi, dim sum, etc. But godDAMN was this food good. Once I started, I got Joy Yee roughly once a month until I came home for the summer.

sesamechicken (4 of 4)

But naturally, I still had moments where all I wanted was to stuff my face with takeout. So, naturally, I decided to test out making some myself. It went okay the first time, and it went REALLY WELL the second time.

sesamechicken (2 of 4)

The best part about this chicken is that it’s super easy to make, and it’s also gluten and grain-free, for those of you who have restrictions. I ate mine with greens, but rice or noodles would also be a great choice. Go forth and eat comfort food!



for the chicken

  • 1 pound boneless chicken thigh
  • ¼ cup arrowroot starch
  • neutral oil for frying (avocado and canola are good choices)

for the sauce

  • ¼ cup tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch


Cut the chicken thigh into uniform, bite sized pieces.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat 1-2 centimeters of oil on a high setting until very hot—I don’t use a thermometer, but a good way to check if the oil is ready is to splash a little water on it. If it spits and goes crazy, you’re ready to fry.

Dredge your chicken pieces in the arrowroot starch, then place directly into the oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until crispy and slightly browned. I usually need 3 or 4 rounds to make sure I don’t overcrowd the pan.

Place the cooked chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel to let oil drain. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, sriracha and chili garlic sauce. Pour the sauce into a nonstick pan on a very low heat and continuously stir with a spatula for 3-4 minutes—it’s easy to get impatient, but if you turn up the heat the sugar will burn, so take this low and slow.

Once the sauce starts to thicken, add the arrowroot starch, cook for another minute or two and turn off the heat. Add the fried chicken pieces into the sauce and coat well.

Top with sesame seeds and eat with rice, greens or by itself.



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