This honey chicken is a fun takeout copycat recipe to make when you’d like a takeout fix but don’t actually want to order out.
Let me start by saying this isn’t a quick recipe. It takes a little time to make and is probably best left for a weekend or an evening where you come home a little early. The Godfather and I have made it a few times over the years always for some sort of “occasion”, and it’s always incredibly well received. As a bonus, it’s a wonderful way to satisfy a Chinese food takeout craving without actually leaving the house, and you control the ingredients.
This is not my recipe, it actually comes from this edition of “Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs” which we picked up on our honeymoon (over 10 years ago!). There are a few minor modifications, of course. I’m sharing it here though because it makes me happy and reminds me of our early newlywed cooking adventures.
The Godfather basically knew how to make Cuban coffee, rice in a rice cooker, and grill chicken on a George Foreman. While I knew a bit more, technique required work, and I only knew how to cook for 5 people or more. None of this really has anything to do with the honey chicken recipe, if you’re wondering. It’s just the direction my thoughts have taken each time I’ve sat trying to write out this recipe post.
Anyway, the reason we even tried this recipe out of the cookbook the first time was for a family celebration. I want to say it was a belated Mother’s Day gathering, but details are fuzzy. I know the mothers somehow influenced the decision. So the Godfather and I bought ingredients, cooked up a huge double or triple batch and fed about 10 people with a recipe we had never tested or made before. I’m glad it worked. If you’d like to feel all fancy and make honey chicken that tastes just as good (or better) than the local takeout place, you will be too.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
- ½ cup cooking wine
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4-5 cups frying oil, use a neutral flavored oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt, adjust to taste
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Chopped scallions
- Toasted white sesame seeds
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag or a mixing bowl. Cube the chicken into bite size pieces and place into the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- When the marinade time is about up, place the frying oil into a frying pan and place on a burner over medium high heat.
- Whisk together the dry batter ingredients, then add all the wet ingredients and stir until a mostly smooth batter forms.
- Set your oven to warm (or warm it to the lowest setting and then turn it off), and line a baking sheet or large plate with paper towels to drain the chicken.
- Drop the chicken cubes into the batter in batches. Remove, shaking off the excess and drop into the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the batter is golden brown and the chicken is cooked and juicy. Test with 1 piece first and then adjust temperature accordingly between medium and medium high heat.
- Cook the chicken in batches, placing the cooked chicken on the paper towel lined plate or baking sheet in the warm oven to maintain temperature.
- Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is not grainy. This takes about 3-4 minutes.
- Toss the cooked chicken in the sauce, and top with sesame seeds and green onions if desired.