Last Minute Sesame Chicken


What is your go-to recipe in a pinch? That dish that you can whip up at the last-minute when everyone is hungry and you have little meat, a little veg and some pantry staples at hand. The meal that you can throw together without opening a book or going online? 

This is mine. Or a version of mine, since its exact ingredients might change a bit according to the contents of my crisper. 

I’ve written the recipe to reflect this exact dish, made tonight and pictured above. But keep in mind that the chicken could be beef or pork. The celery could be water chestnuts or bits of broccoli. You love cilantro? Sirancha? Go for it! You get the picture.

It’s the technique here that is solid and fool-proof. So sharpen your knives and prep the ingredients as directed (small and thin) to make this the easiest stir fry ever.


Last Minute Sesame Chicken

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 8 minutes
Total time 23 minutes
By author margaret at The Right Recipe


  • 1 cup short grain rice (such as sushi rice)
  • 1 to 1 1/2lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon Asian oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Small stalks celery
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 Medium white onion
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds


1. Cook the rice according to package directions until just tender and set aside, covered to stay warm.
2. Meanwhile, trim the chicken breasts then slice crosswise into pieces approx. 1-2 inches long and only 1/4 inch wide. If the breasts are large, you may need to butterfly them first in order to achieve this size. Put the chicken in a medium bowl and season with the oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and salt and pepper. Stir and set aside at room temperature while you slice the veggies.
3. Cut the celery, red bell pepper and the onion into very thin short pieces and set aside.
4. In a small dish or cup, stir together the ketchup, red pepper flakes and soy sauce. Set Aside.
5. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Add the sliced vegetables and stir fry until just tender and starting to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper and remove from skillet.
6. Add the rest of the oil to the hot skillet and add the marinated chicken. Spread out quickly into a single layer and let cook, undisturbed, until chicken is golden brown on the one side and almost cooked through. Toss chicken, return the cooked veggies to the pan and continue tossing together until chicken is cooked through. This will only take another minute or two as the chicken pieces are quite thin.
7. Add the soy mixture and toss until chicken is nicely glazed. Add the sesame seeds. Remove from heat and add the warm rice and stir together well. Taste and season with more soy sauce or sesame oil as desired.