Sesame Chicken of Our First Date

Sesame Chicken
Sesame Chicken

My husband, who has known me since I was in high school, is often amazed at how my memory works. I may not remember anything about a movie we watched a week ago but I can tell you in details what I ate on a particular date, a company holiday party, a vacation, or a rehearsal dinner.

On our first date, my husband and I, for the lack of a better destination, stopped by Lucky Penny, a diner on Mason and Geary in San Francisco.  Neither of us was really hungry, so we decided to split a Sesame Chicken entree.  Paying little attention to the chicken we watched day turn into night, while sharing our lives with each other.  There, over Sesame Chicken entree, our story began.

A few years ago, while driving in the city, I passed by Lucky Penny and the memories of our first date came gushing in.  A burgundy booth tucked away in the corner of the half empty diner, worn out plastic benches, dim lighting, and walls covered with faded pictures of celebrities; first-date butterflies, cozy conversation, Sesame Chicken….

I came home that night hoping to re-create the gastronomical sensation of our first date. Within a few clicks, I found a perfect recipe. Not only did it remind me of the Lucky Penny’s original, but it was also delicious and easy to make.  That night, with the help of a bottle of Riesling, an entree from All-Recipes took us back in time to our very first date.

Sesame Chicken

Adapted from

Sesame Chicken in a pan
In a pan


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup  sesame seeds, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 lb chicken tenders
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (I recommend using Sesame Seed oil)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 6 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons honey (my favorite is Billy Bee Organic)



  1. In a wide frying pan, toast sesame seeds over medium heat, tossing occasionally. For convenience, keep a few bottles of toasted sesame seeds in your pantry.
  2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Place a few pieces of chicken at a time into the bag, and shake to coat. Remove to a platter.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place chicken into skillet, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine Liquid Aminos and honey.  Add sauce to skillet. Sauté for 2 more minutes, then add corn.
  5. Warm gently until heated through.
  6. To finish off, add 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds and remove from stove.
  7. Serve immediately.

Wine pairing:

My favorite wine to accompany this dish is a Dry Riesling. Its tart peach, pear, and lime flavors go really well with the sweetness of the Sesame Chicken.

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