Recipe: Chinese Lemon Chicken

Copyright © 2013 Christopher Brayden

Chinese Lemon Chicken

Please excuse the delay in posting this recipe. I figure that by now everyone should be back from vacation. At any rate, most of you know that my Chinese father-in-law is an excellent chef who taught me how to make a few dishes when he visited us a few months ago. My father-in-law actually cooked a few dishes with me in the kitchen, but for most of the dishes, including this one, he simply gave me some ingredients to use and I figured out the ratios. This dish, although seemingly very simple, proved most elusive! It took four tries before I finally came up with something good. The dish has a strong lemon flavor and is slightly sweet and tangy. Hope you enjoy it

P.S. Am now working on a Szechuan Chicken dish.

4 to 6 whole breast halves (skin included)
1 cup water
1/2 cup LOW SODIUM chicken broth
1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ginger, finely grated (the finer the better)
1/2 teaspoon salt**

** I decided to use a little salt instead of soy sauce I originally had in recipe. The third time I made recipe, sauce was slightly darker than I wanted it to be.

Ingredients used to fry chicken
Cornstarch
Oil
Eggs

Mix sauce ingredients (everything except cornstarch, oil and eggs) at least several hours before making this dish to allow flavors to mix. I didn’t do this the first time I made this dish and it just doesn’t taste the same! Rub some salt (to taste – between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon.per breast) on the breasts so that the thicker meat on breasts will have a good flavor. If you don’t do this, you will have a tasty sauce and the meat on the surface of chicken will taste good, but inner part will be very bland. Last time I made this I also used a bit of garlic powder (can mix in with salt about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon total). Chicken should be salted with garlic and salt mixture AT LEAST 12 hours, preferably 24 hours in advance to allow maximum penetration of flavors.

Place a good amount of shortening or a combination of shortening and liquid vegetable oil in wok or deep fryer. Wait until you have breaded your chicken before heating shortening. Next, beat two eggs with about 1 1/2 cups water. After that, add about 2 tablespoon vegetable. oil to mixture and beat lightly. You are now ready to bread chicken breasts with cornstarch. Dip each breast in cornstarch making sure it is thoroughly covered. Lightly shake off excess cornstarch and dip in egg mixture. Allow breasts to drip excess liquid before re-dipping in cornstarch mixture. This time, you want a good coating, similar to that of crispy beef–solid coating , but not too thick. Set aside breaded breasts and heat oil. Oil should be heated to 360 degrees. You do not have to be exact, but oil should be GOOD AND HOT, but not so hot that the batter on chicken will have a burned off-flavor from excess temp. during frying cycle. Depending on the size of your fryer or wok, I would probably fry 2–definitely no more than 3 breasts at a time. To fry more than that would risk excess oil penetration because of a slowed oil temp. recovery. Fry breasts for about 12 minutes, or slightly longer if you are frying very large breasts. If you discover that breasts are browning too quickly during fry cycle, you can turn flame down after breasts have fried
for about six minutes. By that time, there should be a good crispy shell to protect chicken from oil penetration. Shortly after you have started frying chicken, heat up sauce and allow to simmer for a minute or so before adding about 1 1/2 tablespoons (approximation) cornstarch mixed with water. Once sauce thickens, add about 2 tablespoon hot oil and mix well. Remove sauce from fire and set aside.

When fried chicken breasts are done, allow them to set for about 2 minutes to ensure meat closest to bone is fully cooked.

Next chop each chicken breast into about 3-4 pieces and pour some of lemon sauce (to taste) over chicken. Remaining sauce can be used to dip fried chicken pieces.

Chicken can be served over white rice.

For more information about white meat, please go here today.

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