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A dish of Chinese sesame seed chicken, displayed with steamed broccoli, white rice, and sesame seeds, all served on the traditional white Chinese plate.
Sesame chicken (also called Chinese sesame seed chicken) is a syncretic dish, commonly found in Chinese restaurants throughout the English-speaking world. The dish is similar to General Tso's chicken but the taste of the Chinese-based chicken is sweet rather than spicy. While this dish is popular outside of China, it is rarely found but not completely absent from Chinese restaurant menus within China proper.
The dish involves chicken (usually thigh) pieces that are boned, battered, and Chinese deep-fried, then dressed with a translucent, reddish-brown, semi-thick, somewhat sweet sauce made from corn starch, vinegar, wine or sake, chicken broth, and sugar, the last of which is a major contributor to Sesame Chicken's relative sweetness. After these preparations, the unfinished dish is topped with sesame seeds, which may or may not be toasted, hence the name sesame chicken. It is at this point that the Chinese Sesame Seed Chicken preparation is complete. It is sometimes, but not always, served with vegetables such as broccoli and Chinese baby corn.
Sesame shrimp is also available. Shrimp is simply substituted for chicken and the preparation is the same, with the exception of the degree and length of heating of the meat. Another potential difference is that chopped almonds may be substituted for the sesame seeds, hence the name almond shrimp.
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