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Sesame Oil Chicken (麻油鸡)

Sesame Oil Chicken (麻油鸡)
Sesame Oil Chicken (麻油鸡) pictures (1 of 3)

Recently, I am in love with sesame oil chicken (麻油鸡), a really homey and humble chicken dish that is both delicious and easy to make. It takes only a few ingredients to dish out sesame oil chicken, but the great taste complements steamed white rice so well that I can personally finish up a serving of this all by myself!

As mentioned, the ingredient list is quite simple: bone-in chicken (I prefer chicken drumstick), sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and oyster sauce—everyday Asian ingredients that you will find in your pantry without running to the store! I especially love it that during the cooking process, the aroma of ginger and sesame oil fill up my kitchen, and that alone is enough to set my mouth watering. (In Malaysia, sesame oil chicken or pork is often served to new mothers, during the confinement month after birth. Chinese believe that ginger and sesame oil are “heaty” ingredients that help strengthen and nourish the body of new mothers and will speed up recovery after child birth.)

Just like any good Malaysian citizen, I serve this with a dollop of fresh sambal belacan. A satisfactory and everyday meal is really just all that—you need no fancy and expensive ingredients or tedious preparations. Check out my sesame oil chicken recipe below.

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63 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Tricia

    This is one of my fav dishes. I use drumsticks, too. I add alot of ginger in mine … love the smell and heat! Hmmm…I think it’s time to make this again!!! Yummy!

  2. John Schuler

    I would like to try this but I’m confused about sesame oil.
    Does this use the toasted sesame oil? I recently moved to Koreatown and have shopped at the various markets but am unable to tell the difference between the toasted and not toasted.
    Can you shed some light? ( I know I should ask someone in these stores but haven’t ) Any recommendations on specific brands?

  3. Che

    Thank you for this recipe! I have fond memories of “mua yiew kwey” that’s how we call it in Manila (we speak hokkien). my mom made it all the time and I completely forgot about this.

    More power to you! My husband thinks I am a good cook – in truth, I just copy most of your recipes!!
    If you are in Dubai, please, let me know, it would mean the world to me to have yum cha with you :)

    • Yes, we call it mua yu kay, sounds about the same! I love this, my late mom used to make this quite a bit but with pork, and fried eggs in the sauce! I loved it so much!

      Glad to know you love my recipes! Hopefully I will get to Dubai one day!

  4. This looks just like how my grandma makes it. She sometimes uses leftover cooked chicken to make this. You make it look so simple! And i agree – sambal makes everything better!

  5. I also fall to Kadoya Sesame Oil when in the US. This is also one homey dish I enjoy very much. Shall make this soon….you must eat more of this! :P just so good!

      • Simon

        I agree with bee here. Although San bei ji is a delicious (as a taiwanese friend said it in mandarin) is a delicious dish. This recipe uses fewer ingredients, but personally I prefer the sweetened mix of succulent chicken, chili, basil and saltiness in San Bei Ji more.

        Couldn’t manage to get sambal balacan, but made it with a homemade sambal ulek instead. Also turned out great.

  6. Jun Low

    hi, i made this last night and omg it was yum! i just used chicken thighs without the bones instead cos i have a lazy family haha!

    • Jun – that’s so great that you tried the recipe. It’s so easy and delicious, right? I love this recipe. Can eat all of them by myself. Boneless meat works fine, too. But I like chicken drumsticks for this specific recipe. :)

      • Jun Low

        It just makes me think of home (Singapore). I remember my aunt eating this and ginger fish during her confinement period :D Thanks so much again.

  7. Audrey

    OMG this is HOME dish!! The first dish I learned from my grandma when I was only 14, just because it’s my favourite. My dad, thinking I know how to cook by then because of sesame chicken, told me to fry a plate of veg and I failed miserable.

  8. Novice

    I’m making this recipe, but I don’t have Chinese Rice Wine. Are there alternatives that are more common that I can use?

  9. richard.fila

    Really enjoy this dish – the bone in chicken I think adds to the flavour. One tip though …. when cutting up a chicken drumstick the bones can shatter however, cutting when it’s still partially frozen should help.

  10. Vanessa

    I’m going to make this with boneless chicken, would you recommend that I use the “baking soda trick” for the chicken?

  11. Peter Pantry Raider

    Whenever I cut up and cook a whole chicken, my daughter reserves the drumsticks and thigh parts while my eldest son goes for the chicken breast.

    I only get to eat what’s left – the bony parts and the chicken backside. Sigh! But I love those parts especially in curry or KFC.

  12. Mrs Fox

    I’m so making this tonight. However, my Mat Salleh hubs is not a fan of picking bones, so I’m afraid it’ll have to be made with boneless thighs.

    I shall demand for this dish everyday during my confinement period come spring. Bones and all.

  13. Nining

    I can only get roasted sesame oil in Cairo. The one you would top soups before eating them. So won’t this oil burn if heated on high heat?

    Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kokila

    I’m staying in Kuwait and want to try this dish as it’s so mouth watering. But I can’t get the shoaling wine or rice wine over here…can I substitute these ingredients? Thanks…

  15. Shirlyn

    I’ve tried this recipe a few times. It tastes just like the way my grandma used to cook it. Simply delicious! Thks for sharing this recipe. I’ll be posting it on my blog soon. :D

  16. cholito


    I love you site and already tried the chicken cashew nut which tasted just like in our favorite Chinese restaurant.

    We also have another favorite called Sesame chicken but it looks different than this one here. We could never figure out what the sauce is made of. My guess is oyster sauce, honey and soy sauce but I was wondering if you can help me. They usually sprinkle sesame on top of it.

    Thank you!

  17. claire

    when i cook sesame oil chicken, i would take out the ginger after i fried it and then add to the chicken just before serving. to me the chicken taste better that way, anyway diff people have different taste. can try if you wish to have a different taste.

  18. Lisa

    I have been using this recipe as a good starter, with a few minor tweaks. Instead of oyster sauce, I drizzle a little kecap manis because my kids like a touch of sweetness. I also use Kadoya toasted sesame oil for a richer sesame taste. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  19. noor

    looks yummy. i’m into chinese these days. for muslims what can you suggest as the closest substitute to the wine? i can take rice wine vinegar though but not sure about the taste.

  20. FgK

    It looks great, but I have one question. Do you use sweet soysauce or salty? because im sure that would make a difference.

  21. mandy

    Cooked the sesame oil chicken following your recipe for dinner, it was very delicious. We had to fight for the last few pieces. Thumbs up!!!
    Going to try more of your recipes.

  22. Rosa

    Wow, this sounds delicious, I would like to try it! what do you mean by chicken drumsticks (chop into 3-4 pieces each, bone-in). Do you actually mean to chop the drumsticks? how?
    BTW, I have your book and enjoy choosing a recipe every weekend :-D

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