Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge - Sesame Chicken
A quick and simple foolproof recipe for sweet and crispy sesame chicken. If chicken isn't your thing, try the recipe with tofu, shrimp, or beef!
Recipe contains soy.
This recipe gives back to Forrest Powell Foundation Evanston WE program. The Evanston Work Ethic Program (WE Program) exemplifies the FEP Foundation mission in action by providing ambitious ETHS students with comprehensive, pre-professional career/tech preparation through mentors, workshops, counseling, and financial assistance.
OWNER SANDY CHEN'S STORY
Growing up in the Provence Zhe Jiang, city Wen Zhou, of Southern China, in a small village just south of Shanghai (called it Chinese Jews) Sandy Chen began her culinary journey as a child by helping prepare meals for her large family. Living with four siblings and 16 first cousins all under one roof, Sandy was only ten years old when she learned the art behind cooking traditional Chinese cuisine. However, limited ingredients and portions presented challenges in delivering consistently delicious meals. Sandy met the call for creativity and before long, took the place of her mother in the kitchen along with the task of feeding the whole family.
Sandy’s culinary inspiration stemmed from her father, a personal chef, who moved the family to the United States in 1984. It was here that her father taught her how to work with a mixture of Eastern and Western ingredients. This new region offered more ingredients and Sandy quickly became accustomed with her favorites including crabmeat, wonton, walnuts, shrimp, and glazed orange chicken among others.
While attending Highland Park High School, Sandy worked at Little Szechwan House, and continued to work in the industry at Tang Dynasty (100 East Walton, Chicago) to fund her enrollment at University of Illinois Chicago where she studied accounting. Eventually, she crossed over to the financial side of the business to do accounting for the corporation while remaining thoroughly engrained in the day-to-day operations. While Sandy originally entered the industry to financially support her education, between her childhood passion for food and her business background, she fell in love with the world of restaurants.
In 1994, Sandy took over her first restaurant, House of Dong Yuang, in on Halsted Street in Lakeview. She had worked as a server there for a short time. The owner, Mr. Chiang, wanted to retire, and asked Sandy to buy his business. The name and spirit changed to Chens. Sandy built the business for five years, before expanding into a bigger space, five blocks north at 3506 N. Clark. She maintained the same staff, including the chef she personally trained and who is still with the company to this day. Sandy attributed the success of Chens to both luck and ambition and ten years later, Sandy decided to take that luck and ambition, along with her delicious Chinese cuisine and sushi, to the North Shore. She opened Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and lounge just in time for the Chinese New year in 2004.
Thanks to her wonderful team and supportive local diners. It is through your support that we have been lucky enough to serve the North Shore community for the past decade! We are so grateful to have such loyal guests, as well as friendly, new visitors, and we look forward to continue to serve Evanston for many more years to come. We are honored to voted as Best 2017 Asian Restaurant in North Shore Chicago by Make it Better Magazine.
We think globally and eat locally. Sandy is celebrating Koi’s 13th anniversary in Feb 2017 and her team also had earned the Evanston Leadership Award for her from Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. To this day, Sandy likes the culinary aspect of the business the most, and is often found in the kitchen in an apron, chopping vegetables, creating new pieces of “art”, and plating the fresh ingredients that Koi is known for. The culinary world is not her job—it is her life style and passion. She enjoys and believing the labor of love; a tradition that she has carried since she was a little girl learning the joys of cooking in China.