Bowl of Sesame Chicken Fried Rice

HeyI hope your week is treating you well so far! We had an awesome little weekend.

On Friday I said goodbye to the boys for 24 hours to attend the wedding of one of my best friends from college in eastern Iowa (oh hey, baby bump!) I love each and every moment I get to spend with these ladies, though I must confess that Grandma here was back at the hotel and asleep by 10pm. I figured I’d snooze until at least 9am the next day but the ol’ body clock woke me up around 6 so I hit the road and was back home before lunch. A short, but very sweet little trip. Congrats to my sweet Kelly!

Sunday was another special day – opening day for T-ball! This was Lincoln’s first year playing and oh my gosh, didn’t I just give birth to this peanut yesterday?? Who knows what’s in the cards for my favorite 4 year old activities-wise, but I can definitely see myself as a baseball Mom. I adored everything about his game…including seeing Ben attempt to wrangle 10+ 4 and 5 year olds for an hour and a half as the assistant coach. HA!


I also squeezed in a photo shoot for this Sesame Chicken Fried Rice dish. You are going to LOVE this easy, secretly healthy stir fry that’s savory, a touch sweet, and tastes like Sesame Chicken minus the doughnut breading, deep fat frying, and sticky, sugary glaze. You know what we call this, you guys – an upgrade!

If you’re a long time IGE reader with a very good memory, this recipe might look a tad familiar. It’s a slight twist on my Kale Fried Rice which I shared way back in 2012. Believe it or not, we still eat it regularly nearly 6 years later, with a few modifications. Since our family has more then doubled in that time, I’ve taken to also doubling the recipe, plus adding chopped chicken thighs. Trust me, if want your take out fake out recipes to taste like the real thing – you have GOT to be using chicken thighs! Chicken thighs are super buttery and flavorful, and the only part of the chicken that both my kids will eat these days. Me too, to be honest. Buh-bye, chicken breasts, it’s all about dem thighs.

Overhead shot of Sesame Chicken Fried Rice

I chose to re-share this recipe now because the stir fry contains 6 cups of chopped kale, which is going to be selling for next to nothing over the next few months. I planted a couple kale plants at our old house, a thousand years and a few lifetimes ago, and they produced all summer long and well into the fall. The dang things just wouldn’t quit! Anyway, we all know how good kale is for us, and if you’ve got a kale/green foods hater in the house, I can almost guarantee they’ll demolish this dish. My 4 and 1 year old certainly do!

Close up photo of Sesame Chicken Fried Rice

Start by mixing up the super easy stir fry sauce – that’s just 1/4 cup each low-sodium gluten-free tamari (could use low-sodium soy sauce if dish does not need to be GF) and mirin mixed with 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup, and a scant Tablespoon sesame oil. You can find mirin in the Asian foods aisle next to the traditional soy sauces.for all my recipes containing mirin – it’s definitely worth a couple bucks!

Next, fill a large wok with water then bring to a boil and simmer 6 packed cups chopped kale until tender but not mushy, 4-5 minutes. I prefer curly kale for this recipe, but use whatever you can find. The easiest way to strip kale from its stem is to hold the stem between your index and middle fingers on one hand, then use your other hand to pull out the stem – then, chop it up!

Drain the kale then squeeze very dry with your hands or a kitchen towel once its cool enough to handle, and then crumble into a bowl.

Time to cook! Place the wok back over high heat to evaporate any remaining water droplets then add 1-1/2 Tablespoons high heat cooking oil like grapeseed, avocado, or vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot add 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs that have been chopped into little pieces then let sear undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, 2 minutes. Add a drizzle of gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce), a dash of white pepper, and 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion that’s been chopped then continue to saute until the chicken is cooked through, 2-3 additional minutes.

Add 6 (yes, 6!) cloves minced garlic then saute until very fragrant, 30 seconds – 1 minute, being very careful not to burn the garlic, then add the cooked kale and toss to combine.

Finally, add 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice that’s been cooked in a saucepan next door (timing in the directions below!) plus the sauce. Turn the heat off then toss everything to combine.

Scoop the Sesame Chicken Fried Rice into bowls then top with toasted sesame seeds for garnish, if you please. Maybe it’s the baby talking, but I can’t help but think a runny, fried egg would be insanely yummy on top too. However you serve it, I hope you love this simple yet outstanding dish – enjoy!

Sesame Chicken Fried Rice Bowl