2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 tablespoons sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Vegetable or peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 tablespoons Chinese Shoaxing rice wine
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sambal chili sauce
1 tablespoon Thai chili sauce
1 lemon, zest and juice
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Scallions, thinly sliced on an angle, for garnish (optional)
Rice, for serving
For the chicken marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce and pepper. Toss to coat, cover, place in the refrigerator and let sit 1 hour.
For the stir-fry: Remove the chicken from the fridge. Add 1 cup cornstarch to a shallow baking dish and dredge each piece of chicken, shaking off any excess.
Fill a Dutch oven or high-sided saute pan with enough oil to completely submerge the chicken pieces. Heat over high heat until glossy and the temperature reaches 375 degrees F. Deep fry the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, adding your chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding and to keep your oil from dropping in temp too much. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate
In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, add the rice wine, hoisin, oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey and the chili sauces; bring to a simmer.
In a glass measuring cup, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup very cold water (make sure you water is cold to avoid lumps!), whisking until combined. Add the mixture to the sauce and simmer for an additional minute, until the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Add in the fried chicken and toss to coat with the sauce. Add the lemon zest and juice. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.