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I don't think that Lemon Chicken is seen in traditional restaurants in China, I have never seen the dish in such. I have seen it in places where there are many travellers in China such as the all inclusive and enjoyable tour of the Terra Cotta Warriors near Xi'an. Their presentation along with toffeed french fries is not different to those seen in Chinese restaurants in the west. I have seen it in good restaurants in Hong Kong though. It doesn't matter of course as it's a food that many people really enjoy repeatedly. It's origin is thought to be from Hong Kong??

There are battered, crumbed and uncoated versions of lemon chicken. Notably the coated dishes reatain the lemon sauce flavours for longer during the eating because of its absorption into the crust/batter.

This recipe calls for breast fillets but I can suggest that you use unfilleted chicken other than the drumsticks. Simply because the drumsticks are quite bulky and tend to be separated from the sauce flavour incorporated in the surrounding batter.


Ingredients:

  • 4 boned  chicken qaurters minus the drumsticks.
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) water
  • 120 ml (½ cup) cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 360 ml (1 ½ cups) peanut oil

Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 240 ml (1 cup) chicken broth or boullion
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • 3 ½ tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger


Method:

  1. Remove  the fat from each chicken piece and pound them out flat to about 1 cm (½ in) thick.
  2. Rinse and lightly scrub the outside of the lemon with a brush. Then dry it with paper towels and cut it into thin slices and set them aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add only the yolks of each egg, reserving the whites for a future recipe. Beat them lightly and slowly add in the water until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Add the cornstarch, salt, and pepper to the egg mixture, mixing everything together until a light batter forms.
  5. In a large non stick pot or wok, heat the oil on high. Make sure that the oil is heated to about 375 degrees. You can either use a thermometer or add a small piece of bread and time the period it takes to turn golden. If this is somewhere in the range of 20 seconds the temp is about right.
  6. Coat two of the chicken breasts with batter by dipping. Let the excess mixture drip off, and then place them into the wok. Cook them for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they turn a golden brown and are cooked through. Then remove them and drain on paper towels.. Repeat this for the remaining two pieces or more if you have marked the amounts up..
  7. Once the chicken has been cooked, place a piece of foil over them to keep them warm and begin cooking the sauce.
  8. In a small cup, mix the cornstarch with just a little water until it dissperses, and set it aside.
  9. Wipe out the wok and add the chicken broth, lemon juice, brown sugar, honey, and ginger. Heat the sauce on high, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
  10. Once the sauce boils, add the cornstarch mixture and stir until lightly thick.
  11. Arrange the chicken pieces on a plate, pour the lemon sauce over them, and then top them with the sliced lemons and serve.