Honey and Pepper Sesame Chicken


honey pepper sesame chicken
An appealing combination of sweet honey, black pepper, and sesame makes this marinade for chicken a satisfying treat for tongue and tummy. The traditional Japanese combination of sesame and soy is accented with sparkling sweetness and spices. You can slice the chicken into thin cutlets to fry; you can bake boneless thighs or breasts with the marinade then slice them. You can serve the chicken hot or cold, over rice or noodles or even on a green salad.

honey pepper sesame chicken ingredientshoney pepper sesame marinadepan fried sesame chicken

The ingredients are readily available: toasted white sesame seeds, green onions, garlic, shoyu, honey, freshly ground black pepper, and sesame oil.

Marinate the chicken in a baking dish for half an hour. Shake excess marinade from thin slices then pan-fry, or bake unsliced chicken in the marinade.

sesame-marinade_4967honey pepper sesame marinadechinese-noodle-chicken_5086

If you fry the sliced chicken, be sure to scrape the raw marinade into a pan and cook it to serve on top of the chicken; it is too delicious to discard. Baked chicken can be sliced and coated with the marinade.

Pan-Fried Sesame Chicken

I’ve made this dish many times over the last six years, and each time it is unique. In 2007 I served it with rice and stir-fried mustard greens with mung beans, rice, lotus root pickles, and miso soup.

sessame-chicken6888japanese chicken saladsesame-fried-chicken_5018
Serve with stir-fried herb rice, on a green salad, with the marinade as a dipping sauce, or mix the marinade with noodles and top with chicken.

Pan-Fried Flavored Chicken
Tori no Usugiriyaki 

from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 412
serves 3 to 4

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
    (thighs or breasts)
  • 3 Tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
    (sesame seeds were at the other house: used sesame paste)
  • ¼ cup minced naganegi long onions, or green onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • fresh-ground black pepper
    (about 2 teaspoons!)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

Cut the chicken into ½-inch-thick slices.
In a suribachi (or other mortar) roughly crush the sesame seeds. (I used some sesame paste as well.)
In a glass or ceramic pan large enough to hold the sliced chicken in a single layer, combine the sesame seeds, green onions, garlic, soy sauce, honey, black pepper, and sesame oil.
Place the chicken slices in the pan, and turn each to cover them with the marinade.
Let them marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat a skillet until hot. Add 2 Tablespoons of the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium-low. Shake excess marinade from a few slices of chicken and cook them until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove chicken to a warm plate, and continue to cook the rest of the chicken. Add oil as needed.
Add a small amount of water to the skillet to de-glaze the pan. Heat the marinade gently until it is cooked.


3 thoughts on “Honey and Pepper Sesame Chicken

  1. Now I know what is for dinner tonight! And I like your dish served with mustard greens and pickles. The sharp and the sweet, the salty and the chickeny umami! Perfection.

    • Hi Carolyn!

      It’s hard to understand why this is a recipe I’d nearly forgotten! It was for breaking the fast for Yom Kippur and yes, I know this is not at all traditional, but chicken and rice is, okay: nice.

      I’m so far behind in my blog, with lots of drafts of articles not finished, pictures, thoughts. I know not everyone is interested in food! Mr. Tess remembers all of the cars we’ve owned. The meals are small memories which accumulate for me. And I enjoy how this old favorite recipe has adapted very well over the years as our family’s life has changed.

      Happy spring to you. Yesterday and today, and probably for a few tomorrows, we’ll have garden tomatoes, misty rain, a storm or so, and grey skies; but the leaves are falling, the annual plants are failing, and the days are shorter.


  2. Hello there Tess, great to see you back in your kitchen! I’d been missing you, Mr Tess and the furry family members. This was delicious. I baked it in the marinade and we ate it with rice, slow cooked apple and red cabbage, sesame cucumbers and pickled raddicho. Some mixed metaphors there but somehow it worked. M is taking the rest cold for lunch tomorrow. Next time I will pan fry the chicken and see how that compares.
    Yes meals, cars…they are all signifiers. StilI I think you would hold sway – people are pretty interested in food. I love the hubbub of company round the table and then the happy silence as everyone tucks in.

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