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Sesame chicken and mushrooms

This is a meal that refuses to be eaten passively. From the moment the ingredients for the sauce are mixed together the senses are fully engaged in the act of making dinner. There's big flavour in these chunks of chicken and mushrooms smothered in a highly fragrant and silky sesame sauce. Along with tahini, soy sauce and a touch of brown sugar, I used Chinese five spice powder, which I picked up recently at my favourite spice merchant Market Spice in Seattle's Pike Place Market.

Family life is often busy and it has certainly felt that way for me lately. The constant green light that is my daily calendar can leave me feeling like a total scatterbrain sometimes (like when I forgot to pick up Mr. Feedbag at the float plane terminal the other day), but a meal like this has a way of bringing everything back into focus by making me stop and live in the right now. Served with sticky rice, every forkful of this dish is a moment not to rush.

Here's how I made it:
makes 3-4 servings

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
a splash of vegetable oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb (about 5 cups) white mushrooms, quartered
1/2 lb (about 3 cups) bok choy, roughly chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds for garnish

I started by combining the tahini, soy sauce, brown sugar, Dijon and five spice powder in a mixing bowl, stirring until smooth then set it aside. I warmed the oil over medium-high heat in a large wok. When hot, I added the chicken pieces, cooking until golden brown around the edges, then removed the chicken to a heat-proof bowl and set it aside. The mushrooms and bok choy were added to the wok next and cooked for a few minutes until the bok choy was wilted and the mushrooms juicy. The chicken was returned to the wok, along with the sauce, and the whole mixture was brought up to a bubble for a couple minutes longer to thicken the sauce. The sesame seeds were sprinkled on top to serve.

This was gorgeous served with rice, but noodles would have been equally delicious. I can't wait to make some of this silky sesame goodness again to calm a busy week.

Are you crazy about sesame too? How about Chinese five spice? Is life feeling crazy busy for you too lately? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!