I adapted this recipe from the ones I found at allrecipes and recipezaar. It has a lot of ingredients, and no, you shouldn't leave anything out. There's a delicate balance at work here, and everything plays a part. The sauce is very sweet, and it needs the salty chicken to balance it; if you use the sauce alone you'll need to add some salt.
I like steaming some broccoli, onions, and carrots and serving them with the rice/sauce as well. Alternately, make just the sauce, and use it as a stir fry sauce (rather than making the fried chicken part).
Cornstarch can usually be replaced by using double the amount of flour...I don't recommend that for this recipe though because the thickening properties of the cornstarch are really important to the texture, and flour really doesn't do it as well.
To make this dish gluten-free, replace the flour with half the amount of cornstarch OR (better) with rice flour or a GF flour blend.
mix in a medium sized bowl
2 Tbs soy sauce
3 drops *toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs water
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vegetable oil
*the "toasted" part is important, it means the seeds were toasted before the oil was expressed, and it has a much stronger flavor. It's available in the asian section of the grocery store
Use fresh or thawed chicken--about 3 breasts or 4-5 thighs. Cut it into 1 inch chunks and then put into the marinade to sit for about 20 minutes (the marinade is thick so the chicken is not so much 'soaking' as it is 'coated' with the marinade).
Meanwhile get some rice going. ☺
mix in a medium sized saucepan
1 1/2 c chicken broth
6 Tbs cornstarch dissolved into 3/4 c cold water
1/2 c sugar (this could probably be reduced, but I haven't played with that yet)
3 Tbs soy
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
3 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp chili paste (or same amount of chili oil, or you could probably use red pepper flakes)
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
2 Tbs sesame seeds (you can sprinkle them on top at the end, but I find it easier to just mix them right into the sauce)
Mix over high heat, stirring continuously, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low so that the sauce stays warm and thickens while you fry the chicken.
To Deep-Fry the chicken, I recommend using a wok if you can, because of its shape you'll be able to use less oil. To be really authentic, use peanut oil. Vegetable oil also works fine. (Light olive oil might be ok, but don't use EVOO--extra virgin--as it has a stronger flavor that just won't work for this.) Put enough oil in your pan to be about 1 1/2 or 2 inches deep, and heat it until very hot. Carefully add the chicken pieces a few at a time--they will want to stick together if you add them at once, so add them individually. Cook for 3-5 minutes (I always cut open the largest chunk from my first batch or two to check for doneness). Remove chicken from oil and set on paper towels to drain. You can set the cooked portions in the oven on low to keep warm while you cook the remaining chicken.
Place chicken on a large platter and pour sauce over it, then serve over rice.
Or, if you're like me, just serve everything in it's own dish and let people choose their own ratios. ☺