I don’t know about you, but Chinese food would have to be one of my favourite takeaway foods. In Australia, the most popular takeaways restaurants would have to sell one of the following: pizza, Thai food, fish & chips or Chinese food. It was weird moving to the UK, because their most common takeaway restaurants were quite different to ours and most often involve curry, fish & chips or fried chicken.
It’s interesting to learn of the history behind our favourite takeaway foods and how they came to be so popular in each country. For example, curries and Indian food made first made their way to Britain during the height of the East India Company. Popularity increased when the British ruled in India in the 19th and 20th centuries and curries have been a staple British takeaway ever since. Australia hasn’t had that same history with India, so it’s only been in the last 30 or so years, with the increase in the number of immigrants from India, that our palates have been lucky enough to sample this varied and appetising cuisine.
Chinese food has a bit of a longer history in Australia than Indian food, which is why it is a much more popular takeaway option. The Chinese first came to Australia in significant numbers during the gold rush in the mid-19th century, many opening restaurants when mining became less profitable. A number of Chinese restaurants withstood the harsh restrictions imposed upon foreigners in the early and mid-20th century under the White Australia Policy and they have thrived since a more multicultural attitude was adopted in the late 20th century.
I’ve grown up eating a westernised version of Chinese food for as long as I can remember, and I often feel like I could live on rice, noodles and stir fry for the rest of my life. Finding good Chinese food locally in London just isn’t as easy as you’d have thought in such a cultural melting pot. Sometimes it’s just easier to make do with a homemade version, so today I bring you this Baked Honey Sesame Chicken. It’s not the same as you’d find in Chinese restaurant in Australia, but the core flavours are there and it’s pretty tasty nonetheless.
Baked Honey Sesame Chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
2 chicken breasts (about 500g), diced
½ cup cornflour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
⅓ cup honey
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup tomato ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp cornflour
Steamed rice, to serve
Sesame seeds, to garnish
Spring onions, chopped, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3. Add cornflour to a small bowl and toss in diced chicken to lightly coat, then dip chicken in lightly beaten eggs.
- In a medium frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat and add chicken. Cook until sealed and just browning, about 6-7 minutes. Place chicken in a medium-sized baking dish and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make marinade. In a medium bowl, add honey, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and cornflour and stir well to combine. Pour over chicken and bake for about 40 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked, stirring occasionally.
- Serve on a bed of steamed rice with sesame seeds and spring onions to garnish.
Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic, rewritten.