This is one of my favourite stand-by dishes and always fits the bill when I want something sticky with bags of flavour, take-out style.
There is so much joy in the sticky-gooeyness on the outside of the chicken that gives way to a gentle spicy kick. I honestly love returning to this dish again and again, serving it with rice, noodles or in bao.
The chicken gets marinated, coated in spiced flour and cooked before getting tossed in its marinade in the pan to give a glossy, sticky coating. Divine!
I usually cook the coated chicken pieces in the air-fryer: no fuss, just pop it in and leave it while you do something else. However, it works equally well pan-frying or oven-baking the chicken pieces.
I sometimes add cashews or vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus – normally just pan-fried in a little oil and mixed into the sticky sauce at the end. This dish also works brilliantly with beef, tofu cubes or mushrooms instead of chicken.
Recipe: sticky tamarind & sesame chicken – serves 3-4
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying or a couple of sprays of oil if using the air fryer.
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
Marinade and sauce:
- 3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- about 3” ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 5 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- grated zest of a lime
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- a little red chilli, finely chopped – optional
(1) Remove the skin from the chicken and cut the chicken into thin strips.
(2) Put the chicken in a bowl along with the mark date/sauce ingredients and give it a good stir. Ideally leave for at least 20 minutes but I often do this the night before – however, you can use it immediately.
(3) Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl.
(4) Take the chicken pieces of their marinade, letting the excess marinade drip back into the bowl it was in – as this will form the sauce. Place into the costing and give it a toss so each piece of chicken has a light coating. It is best to do this in batches. Remove each to a plate until you are ready to cook.
(5) To cook the chicken strips: if air-frying, spray over a little oil and air-fry at 11-22 mins at 200C. Otherwise, shallow fry in hot oil until deep-golden all over. You could also oven-bake them for about 12-15 minutes.
(6) Pour the remaining marinade into a wok or frying pan, along with a splash of water. Heat until it comes to the simmer and then reduces to become thicker and glossy.
(7) Add the cooked chicken pieces and sesame seeds and give them a toss round for a minute or two so they are well coated. Serve.