By Nathan Carey
During the last 2 years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in the number of people trying to imitate their favourite takeaway dishes. Especially during the pandemic when so many of our favourite spots were closed. Sometimes all we want to do after a long day of college is sit back and order one of our favourite takeaway dishes. These quick meals are often perfect for hitting the spot, but the costs can rack up pretty quickly. What if you could recreate some of these dishes at home with ingredients you may already have in the kitchen? It turns out it’s not that difficult! Not only can these substitutes be cheaper and healthier, but the ability to modify them to your tastes makes them the perfect comfort food. Today I’m going to share with you a couple of recipes for fakeaway meals that rival the real thing!
First up is some of the best honey sesame chicken around. Crispy chicken in a sweet and tangy sauce that can be served up with rice and fresh vegetables like steamed broccoli. This dish is sure to crush all your cravings.
Honey & Sesame Chicken
For the chicken:
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 cups of flour
- 1tsp each paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Enough neutral oil (I chose vegetable) to coat the bottom of a frying pan
For the sauce:
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- 80g soy sauce
- 80g honey
- 80g ketchup
- 2 tsp rice vinegar (you can use regular as well)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
Optional for garnish:
- Sesame seeds
- Finely sliced spring onion
- Chop the chicken breasts into bite size pieces.
- Prepare a quick dredging station consisting of 1 bowl of beaten eggs, 1 bowl with flour and spices mixed together and 1 empty plate to place coated chicken onto.
- Using one hand for dry mixing and one for wet, coat the bite size pieces of chicken in the egg. Once fully coated and drained of excess egg, place it into the bowl of flour. Using your other hand gently coat the chicken in the flour making sure each piece is fully coated. Place on a plate and continue to coat all pieces.
- When ready to fry, heat the vegetable oil in the frying pan on high heat until it reads about 175°C. If you don’t have a thermometer I highly suggest picking one up for a couple of euro as they make frying a breeze, however, you can also allow the oil to heat on high for a couple of minutes and test its temperature with one of the chicken pieces. It should start to bubble but not brown too quickly.
- Carefully place the chicken pieces into the hot oil and fry until they are a golden brown colour, be sure to flip them every so often so that they can brown evenly.
- Work in batches to fry all of your chicken pieces and take extra care around the hot oil. Place the fried chicken on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
- To make the honey sauce, add finely chopped garlic to a pan with 1 tbsp of sesame oil and fry for about a minute on medium-low heat. Add soy sauce, honey, ketchup, rice wine vinegar and cornstarch to the pan and stir to evenly combine. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.
- Add the fried chicken to the sauce and mix to coat.
- Serve with rice and steamed broccoli and garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and spring onions.
The chicken in this recipe can be dredged and coated in the spiced flour mixture in advance and placed into the fridge until you are ready to fry it up and make the sauce, this can save a bit of time if you are making this dish in a hurry! Why not make a large batch and have honey sesame chicken ready to go in the fridge all week long!
Next up is one of my go-to lunch dishes. If you know me (and our Editor in Chief, Imasha), we are huge fans of Boojum. Sometimes you just need that burrito hit at a slightly cheaper price and with more bang for your buck. This burrito bowl recipe is easy to make and completely customisable. Instead of chicken why not try pork or beef. You can even make the whole thing vegan by loading up on the vegetables.