Confession No. 109 — Really? You want us to shoot straight? (Recipe: Chinese Sesame Chicken)

Just admit it. You’re a liar.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, I’m not referring to the fibs you tell your boss about why you are regularly tardy. Nor am I talking about that Facebook profile photo that took you 20 attempts and a good bit of Photoshop know-how.

The lies I’m talking about are victimless. Still, they are falsehoods that I too am guilty of — as is just about every person whose condition I’ve inquired about or called early in the morning.

I’m awake
Certainly you’ve asked a raspy-voiced someone on the telephone whether you awakened them and heard ‘no.’ When you are that someone who allows the ringing to interrupt your dreams, do you admit it to the caller?

Me either.

I’ve never been able to determine why we offer up such an obvious falsehood. Are we all deep-down good people who don’t like the idea of making others uncomfortable? Or is that half-asleep lie just proof that we are natural-born phonies?

Just once, I’d like to reach down deep into my psyche and shoot straight with the caller.

‘…Um …. Hello?’

‘Oh my, Adam! It sounds like I woke you up. I’m so sorry!’

‘…Um yeah.’

‘I feel really bad. Go back to sleep and I’ll call you later.’

‘Nope. I’m awake now. I was about to see what it was like to win the Irish Sweepstakes, but you felt the need to call me at 5 a.m. and ruin my dream.’

Lessons not learned
One of the most frequent lies we tell is to ourselves. How many times have you said or thought ‘I’ve learned my lesson?’ Lost count? (Me too.)

I’ve announced my lessons learned no fewer than 25 times in almost every case of saying the wrong thing, drinking too many glasses of Scotch or saying the wrong thing after drinking too many glasses of Scotch. I repeatedly learned the same lesson after every new car purchase or secret shared with a child of mine. The same lessons rear their heads each and every time I overindulge at Long John Silver’s or expect that my Whopper will look just like the one on the billboard.

Truth is, I’ll end up gazing again through an amber glass of vatted malt as I cry with slurred speech that my smashed Whopper has brought me great sadness. And my wife will undoubtedly admonish me when she hears from the children that Dad only agreed to overpay for the new car because the lady behind the counter was hot.

And I will (again) claim that I learned my lesson, obtuse twit that I am.

I’m fine. How are you?
Everybody’s lying during this exchange. The inquirer and the respondent. Indeed there are exceptions to every rule, but we often ask the question when we couldn’t care less about the answer. For the record, I’m not always fine. But I tell the same lie … over and over again. And so do you.

If I were to tell the truth, the conversation would go something like:

‘Hi, Adam. How are you?’

‘I ate a 10-piece family meal from Long John Silver’s last night and paid a huge price for it.’

‘Oh. I’m sorry to hear that.’

‘Yeah. This month’s water bill is going to ruin someone’s Christmas.’


‘And I had too many glasses of Scotch with my greasy fish … Went to brush my teeth — was planning a little hanky panky with my wife — and accidentally used the hemorrhoid cream.’

‘My goodness. That sounds horrible.’

‘Absolutely! But none of that compares to what I said to my wife when she complained that my breath smelled like witch-hazel.’

Now, are you sure you want everyone to shoot straight?

Want to receive notifications of my Confessions, Chronicles and recipes in your email? Just click here. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+. Why not witness some of my Instagram antics too? — Special thanks to Megan E. ‘Tough Recycler’ Hawkins at The Underground Writer  for editing this piece.

If you sneak into the kitchen of most Chinese take-out joints, you’ll find that the stuff they’re preparing comes from about 5-6 basic sauce ingredients. (It’s the same with Tex-Mex.) Sesame Chicken is much like General Tso’s Chicken, except it offers more sweet and little spice. You can use chicken breast or thigh meat in this dish. It’s moist and juicy either way.

Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken tastes better from your own wok.

Sesame Chicken tastes better from your own wok.

Chinese Sesame Chicken
Sesame Chicken — It tastes better from your own wok.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
  • 1 – egg white
  • 1½ tsp – toasted sesame oil
  • 1 TB – Soy sauce
  • 1 TB – Brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 TB – Cornstarch
  • 1 lb – Chicken meat, cut into 1 - 1½-inch chunks.
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • ½ cup – Chicken stock
  • ¼ cup – Soy sauce
  • 3 – Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB – Brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tsp – Fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 – Green onions, chopped or sliced thinly
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  1. Whisk all batter ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Add chicken and toss to coat well.
  3. Set aside for about 10 minutes (or in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes).
  4. In another small bowl (or large measuring cup), mix chicken stock, ¼ cup of soy sauce and brown sugar; set aside.
  5. Preheat to high about a half-inch of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. -or- Preheat your deep fryer to a high setting.
  6. Add chicken chunks. Don't overcrowd pan.
  7. Cook about 3-4 minutes, turning as necessary, until golden brown.
  8. Drain on paper plates.
  9. Meanwhile, heat about 1 TB of vegetable oil (medium high) in a skillet or saucepan and add ginger and garlic.
  10. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces to pan.
  11. Give the broth/soy sauce mixture another quick whisk and add to the pan, stirring constantly.
  12. The sauce will begin to thicken immediately and should be completed within 2-3 minutes of cooking.
  13. Garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Don't forget the egg rolls!



  1. The sesame chicken looks delish. Its Max’s favorite dish, so maybe I’ll make it for him tonight. Whatever is on the back of the plate looks equally yummy.

  2. juanitascocina says:

    I have to know what you said to your wife…it’s just eating at my brain…

  3. Can’t believe it. I used ‘knickers in a twist” in my blog post title not 15 minutes ago! LOL. Certainly lends credence to the idea that there is nothing original in this universe. :)

  4. Tough Recycler??! Hahaha! As Kermit The Frog once said, (at least I think he did): It ain’t easy being green.

    I once called my mom at 4am because I had been up all night with a screaming infant and I could have sworn it was 10am. She lied too. “Nope! It’s fine. Is that baby still screaming?”

  5. The most perplexing tidbit taken from this brilliant literary piece (no lie!) is….. I didn’t know that witch hazel had a scent. I’m now terrified as to how many times I’ve inadvertently tasted it

    OK, so on to the sesame chicken. Please share your plate full with me because the good Lord above knows that I will NEVER make one that looks as good as yours does

  6. Love this! Our sesame chicken recipes are very similar, though I don’t use as much cornstarch, which may be why my sauce is always a bit thin. And please, don’t be honest, just tell me that MAY be why my sauce is always a bit thin. :)

  7. Reblogged this on proudwiccan's Blog.

  8. Your presentation of the chicken is gorgeous. Really! I’m not lying. :)

  9. This looks good! And no, I ain’t lying, litte, white, or otherwise. The last time someone called and awoke me, I was not in a good mood. I finally was sleeping well and my husband’s father calls, at 6:30 on Saturday morning and says in his cheerful, not caring voice, Hey, did I wake you up? he’d pulled that stunt too many times. I said, of course you woke me up. it’s 6:s0 am on Saturday. He goes, oh. well, go back to sleep. and I reply, not bloody likely. But I’m awake now so I may as well get out of bed like all the old retired people I know and go and start doing something useless.

    Oh my. He called later in the day and advised my husband I needed manners. Really? Really??? So, I have learned, people who pull this stunt really don’t care. My knickers are still twisted over it, as you can see.

    But you dish looks really good. I think I’ll try it next weekend. I think fixing this for breakfast at 6:30 am would be a nice save of a bad start. Chinese food for breakfast: the new normal.

  10. Hey, Adam … How ay ya? Good, good, great to hear that.
    I’m ogling your sesame chicken and wondering when I’ll get a chance to make some here. Just got the last of the kitchen packed up for the demolition tomorrow morning. No, do not ask how I’m doing!

  11. “I never lie, ” she said, fingers daintily crossed behind her back, knickers twisted.

  12. What’s that they say about repetition or rote learning as the key to really remember something (like, conjugating French verbs)? Maybe you are just a diligent rote learner?

  13. Love the recipe…not gonna make it…the latter is the lie

  14. Cell phone off…I shut the door to the den where the home phone is, and our bedroom door…no one wakes us up except our dog!! Now, if you have an emergency in the middle of the night or early morning…call 911!!!! Not me!!

    I know, I’m callous!! But sleep is sooooo important to me!! Great post!

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