GF Vegan Chinese Sesame Chick-un

August 2, 2022
Whenever we went out to eat Chinese, my sister used to order sesame chicken. She loved it so much that she convinced my family to try it and now all of them order the same, while I'm going with my usual Buddha's delight. I've been a vegetarian since age 13. Also, growing up there weren't any Chinese restaurants near us, so I never tried this dish in my "meat-eating" days. So I was always wondering why they like it so much. Me and my mom came up with the idea of creating a gluten-free vegan version for me, so I can finally satisfy my curiosity.

This turned out so well that now I'm also addicted to my version of the sesame chick-un. Good thing is that you can use many things to replace chicken! I prefer sweet potato, but cauliflower or tofu is a great choice as well because it's easy to season them and keep the flavoring. For this version I used sweet potato.
vegan sesame chick-un on a white and blue speckled plate

GF Vegan Chinese Sesame Chick-un

Recipe Type: Hearty Entrees
utensils YIELDS 2 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • ¼ cup GF soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup GF flour blend
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • to taste salt, pepper
  • ¾ cup sparkling spring water
  • 2 large sweet potato, boiled and sliced
  • oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
        graphic for recipe card


For the sesame sauce:

In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, agave syrup, ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Dissolve ½ tablespoon cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water before adding it to the mix. Set this aside to give it some time for the flavors to come together.

For the batter:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl mix GF flour blend, cornstarch, salt, pepper with sparkling water and whisk it with a whisk or fork. It should be a similar consistency to thick pancake batter.

For the ckick-un:

1. Boil the sweet potato in hot water until fork tender. Remove from the water and set aside to cool. Once chilled, cut into bite sized pieces – the shape doesn’t matter, I sometimes cut rounds or chunks.

2. Heat up the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

3. Dip 5–10 pieces in the batter and carefully transfer them into the hot oil.

4. Let them fry for about 1 minute on each side. They will be a very light golden color.

5. Remove the pieces with a skimmer and place them on a paper towel over a cooling rack.

6. Cook the sesame sauce in a small pan over medium-low heat for 3–4 mins or until it has thickened. Gently toss the fried sweet potato pieces into the sauce and stir in well so all pieces are evenly coated.

7. Garnish with sesame seeds or if you like to cover it in sesame seeds, fill a small bowl with sesame seeds and one by one turn each sweet potato piece around in it.

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Photo: Imola Toth

Imola is a Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher, tree planter and writer and editor of Raised by the Wolf, an online magazine for Wild Women, with a passion for exploring and life outdoors. Originally from Hungary but currently planting trees and rewilding the enchanting forests of France. Hop over to RBTW magazine, and blog and follow her on Instagram @yogiraisedbythewolf


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