Homemade TGI Fridays Sesame Chicken Strips

by Barry Lewis


For the Jack Daniels Glaze

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1tsp olive oil

160ml water

240ml pineapple juice

60ml teriyaki sauce

1tbsp low salt soy sauce

250g dark brown sugar

3tbsp lemon juice

½tsp cayenne pepper

1tbsp Jack Daniels

1 small onion, chopped fine

½ pineapple ring (about 5 pieces of pineapple), chopped fine

For the chicken and coating

750g mini chicken fillets

1tsp salt

150g plain flour

150g panko breadcrumbs

1tsp smoked paprika

1tsp garlic granules

60ml milk

2 eggs

Sesame seeds to garnish

Vegetable oil for frying

Whenever I visit TGI Fridays there’s a handful of things I’d normally order, one of those things is their sesame chicken strips, covered in a Jack Daniles glaze. Sprinkled with sesame seeds and normally served with lettuce (forgive me for skipping that part!) I set out to make homemade sesame chicken strips including the Jack Daniels glaze and wow, what a result, this was truly one of the tastiest and more similar to the real thing recipe clones I’ve ever done! I really hope you try it, even the Jack Daniels glaze alone can be made and used as a sauce just like the folks at Friday’s do, just no singing Happy Birthday to me ok? Thanks

How to make Jack Daniels Sesame Chicken Strips

First up we’ll roast the garlic for the Jack Daniels sauce. Get a small piece of foil and place the garlic and the olive oil in there, mix together to coat and wrap into a parcel. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to caramelise at 350f/180c/160fan/Gas Mark 4. Allow to cool, then chop up finely.

Meanwhile get the chicken going. In a bowl, add the chicken, fully cover it with water, sprinkle in the salt and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or until ready for breading. While that’s in the fridge we’ll make the sauce, but only start just before your garlic is done.

In a saucepan add the teriyaki sauce, water, pineapple juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir over a medium low heat consistently until it comes up to a simmer. Then add in the roasted garlic from earlier, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, Jack Daniels, onion and pineapple pieces. It’s best to use a whisk and keep it over a steady low heat on the hob for a good hour, whisking regularly and making the sauce thicken up. It will not feel like it’s doing much at first but will thicken quite quick. Allow to cool once thickened and store in a tub with a lid on in the fridge or keep warm in the pan if you wish to keep making the chicken strips today.

By now your chicken should have sat in the brine for a good hour. Remove it from the salt water mix and pat it dry with kitchen towel.

In a mixing bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs, plain flour, salt, garlic granules and paprika. Mix well until a consistent colour is achieved and all well combined.

Crack the 2 eggs into a separate bowl and beat together until blended, add in the milk and season the egg with some pepper if you like.

Get your oil ready in a fryer or in a deep pan like a wok to around 350f on a thermometer if using. Place a dried chicken piece into the flour and lift into the egg, using your other hand to lift it around the egg to fully coat, lift it out with the same wet hand, placing it into the breadcrumbs, using the other dry hand to lift the panko breadcrumb mix all over to coat. Try to keep one hand wet, one dry. The chicken should be nice and coated, if not dunk back in the egg and breadcrumb mix again as before. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces – you could actually freeze them at this point (which is probably what TGI’s do!) or keep on cooking and placing them in the hot oil in small batches cooking for a good 5-6 minutes or until golden brown, lift onto kitchen towel to rest and repeat cooking the remaining chicken.

Warm the Jack Daniels glaze back up and lift the chicken into it in small batches to coat, removing with a fork, then sprinkling sesame seeds on top to garnish – absolutely incredible!