It’s Not Take-out: Sesame Chicken and Beef Lo Mein

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After three days of the kids begging for Chinese take-out I started craving Chinese food flavors. The kids and my hubby gravitate toward Sesame Chicken and Pork Fried Rice. I usually go for House Lo Mein (especially in times of emotional eating) or Spicy Curry Chicken, with extra veggies.  I didn’t have a client the day of the Chinese craving and decided that I would make dinner instead of getting take-out. Armed with Tyler Florence’s recipe for Sesame Chicken and my own ideas for Beef Lo Mein, feeling confidant and creative, I set off to the grocery store to collect my ingredients.

In the 8 years we have lived in this house, I have only deep-fried one thing in the kitchen: Carimañolas for my sister’s Panamanian themed birthday dinner a couple years ago. (My husband fries turkeys on the patio for Thanksgiving and I’m sure November will feature a blog on that subject.) I was considering baking the chicken for the Sesame Chicken to cut back on fat, but decided to go with the traditional route of deep-frying the breaded chicken. 

Sesame Chicken Recipe: I never follow a recipe exactly, but this gives you a good starting point. The chicken was moist, the coating crunchy and the sesame sauce rich and tangy. I am going to play with different breading and try to bake the chicken next time. I would prefer not to deep-fry.

Beef Lo Mein, Richey Style – 6 servings

Ingredients for Beef and Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Flank Steak, trimmed, sliced diagonally across the grain into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 3 T low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T Sherry Vinegar
  • 2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 T Toasted Sesame Oil
  • A few shakes of Oyster Sauce
  • 2 tsp chili paste
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 T pickled ginger, chopped (fresh ginger is great, but I was looking for a tangy flavor here)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Other ingredients:

  • thin spaghetti, cooked and drained (4-8 ounces)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut in strips
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, cut diagonally
  • 1-2 heads of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-4 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 cups of snow peas
  • 1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 – 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 1 cup beef broth


  1. Mix marinade ingredients (everything except steak). Place steak in a gallon Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over steak. Seal bag and coat the steak with the marinade. Place bag in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours to marinate. Turn bag occasionally to coat steak.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or very large skillet. Cook meat, with marinade ingredients, over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Remove meat from wok.
  3. Stir-fry onion, celery, broccoli and carrots in wok for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add bell pepper, water chestnuts and cabbage. Stir-fry for about 4 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms, green onions and the meat. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix together cornstarch and beef broth in a bowl. Pour mixture over the meat and vegetables and stir until thickened.
  7. Gently toss in noodles, if desired. (I’m quite happy to eat this without the noodles!)

Feedback from my oldest son, who I had predicted would tell me he wished we would have just gotten take-out from our favorite Chinese place: he ate two servings and said I’d done a great job on dinner.   (Take THAT little voice of doubt!)

My husband informed me that we weren’t paying for Chinese take-out anymore. He took leftovers for lunch and said it was even better the next day.

What’s next? I’ve been craving Thai Lobster Curry Soup. I’m thinking I’ll be at the seafood market tomorrow….