I have torn so many recipes out of magazines, I decided it was time to start trying some of them. I saw this healthy sesame chicken breast recipe in a issue of Real Simple well over a year ago. I’d been craving bok choy, but didn’t want to do my traditional stir-fry, so this looked perfect.
Before diabetes (BD), I made a version of sesame chicken that involved dipping chicken breasts in butter, coating them with cornflake crumbs, sesame seeds, Parmesan cheese and spices, then pan-frying them. Served with a sauce made from orange juice, red currant jelly and more butter (among other things), it’s no wonder I ended up weighing more than I should! This version lightens things up by using egg whites instead of butter to allow the sesame seeds to adhere to the chicken and skips the sauce in favor of some nice vitamin- and fiber-packed Asian-flavored veggies.
The original recipe called for baby bok choy (which I couldn’t find) and a red jalapeño (which I also couldn’t find). I liked the idea of adding something red for color but I didn’t want to miss out on the heat, so I went with a red bell pepper and added some Sriracha sauce (fondly known as “rooster sauce” around here). I also substituted agave for the sugar.
The most important thing I’ve found when cooking bok choy, especially when stir-frying, is that the white parts take longer to cook than the green leafy parts. I always separate the white from the green and throw the white parts into the wok first. I add the greens at the very end giving them just enough time to wilt. This prevents overly soggy greens.
Next time, I’m going to try cooking the chicken in the oven instead of on the stovetop. I had two pans going, the phone was ringing, etc. (The older I get, the less well I multitask.) Preparing the veggies in a wok and doing the chicken in the oven sounds like the best way to go. I also think I’ll leave the sesame seeds out of the egg white mixture and sprinkle them on after I coat the chicken.
Sesame Chicken with Bok Choy and Red Peppers
- ¼ cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce gluten-free, if necessary
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce optional
- 1 teaspoon plus ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 chicken breast halves about 1¼ pounds, cut in half lengthwise and pounded thin
- 1 head bok choy about 1 pound, chopped (white pieces separated from green pieces)
- ½ large red bell pepper cut into strips
In a small bowl, combine tamari, ginger, agave, Sriracha sauce (if using), 1 tablespoon water, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Stir in sesame seeds. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip chicken in egg white mixture and let excess drain back into bowl. Add chicken pieces to skillet, being careful not to overcrowd (you may need to do two batches, depending on the size of your pan). Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the white pieces of bok choy and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the green pieces of bok choy and cook about a minute. Add the tamari mixture and cook until liquid has thickened and bok choy is tender, about 3 minutes.
Serve bok choy with chicken.
This recipe is a good source of Vitamin B6, Folate, Phosphorus, and Selenium, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Niacin.