Chinese lemon chicken

Citrus gives chicken a bright flavor in this easy dinner dish.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
Citrus gives chicken a bright flavor in this easy Chinese lemon chicken dish.

I'm posting three chicken recipes one after the other on my blog. All three are pretty similar. You cut up boneless chicken into chunks, bread them, fry (or bake) them and toss them with some kind of sauce. Real cooks would probably wince at my description but that's what I did so I'm telling it like it is.

This lemon chicken is up first because my lemon tree is insistently pushing lemons at me and I had baked enough lemon bars for holiday gifts. In desperation, I turned to lemon chicken. This recipe was pretty good (although remember I have a low bar when it comes to making savory food), albeit the sauce was a bit tart.

It isn't quite the lemon chicken of a good Chinese restaurant. The fried chicken pieces were nice and crisp when they were first out of the hot oil but once you drain them and add the lemon sauce, they soften considerably, to the point that there might as well not have been any breading. The breading is fairly light and not the heavy hand in bad Chinese restaurants so from that standpoint, at least there was more chicken than breading.

Chinese lemon chicken
From Thirty Handmade Days

1 pound chicken thighs, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
oil for frying

1. Whisk together soy sauce and 2 tablespoons cornstarch; pour over chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate for 30 minutes.

2. While chicken is marinating, add lemon juice, sugar, water, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and lemon zest to a small bowl and mix. 
Add the 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch to the bowl of chicken and toss to coat.

3. In a pot with oil about 3 inches deep, heat on medium high to 350 degrees F.

4. Add the chicken in batches and fry until golden brown. When cooked, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain slightly.
When chicken is all cooked, place a skillet on medium high heat, add chicken and pour sauce over it. Coat the chicken pieces in the sauce and cook briefly until thickened. Serve immediately.

Related post on the Pastry Chef's Baking: Chicken Tetrazzini

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