I love lemon chicken (柠檬鸡) and I am glad I learnt to make this classic Chinese dish. It is definitely much easier than it looks, for the sauce can be prepared in the matter of minutes. The bright yellow hue totally liven things up on the dinner table.
I like the home-cooked version because the chicken is more tender and chunky, and I can tweak the sauce to my liking. You can serve it with plain white rice or rice cooked with chicken-stock. Deep fry the chicken just before serving so that it is hot and crispy.
Dip marinaded chicken first in the egg, coat evenly in the batter, shaking off the excess flour (Step 3)
For best results, deep fry the chicken just before serving so that it is hot and crispy.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
200g boneless chicken fillet or chicken breasts
1 egg beaten
vegetable oil for shallow/deep frying
lemon wedges/slices for garnishing
A) Lemon Sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp plum sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp tumeric powder (for the yellow colour – see noob cook tip below)
cornstarch solution 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
dash of white pepper powder
C) Batter (sifted)
3 heaped tbsp plain or all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
In a saucepan, bring ingredients for lemon sauce (A), except cornstarch solution, to a simmer. Gradually add cornstarch solution to thicken the sauce to desired consistency. Transfer the sauce to a small serving bowl.
Marinade chicken fillets with ingredients (B) for at least 10 minutes.
Combine batter ingredients (C) in a plate. Dip marinaded chicken first in the egg, then coat evenly in the batter, shaking off the excess flour.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer (180°C/356°F) and deep or shallow fry battered chicken until golden brown. Drain excess oil on kitchen towels/tempura papers before serving.
Slice the chicken to bite-sized pieces and transfer to serving plate, with lemon edges at the side. Drizzle lemon sauce over the chicken just before serving.
Noob Cook Tip
Tumeric is staining. To prevent the tumeric from staining my saucepan, I prepared the lemon sauce ingredients without the tumeric first. I then transferred the sauce to a stain-proof ceramic bowl, and while it is still hot, I mix in the tumeric. Besides tumeric, you can use yellow food colouring too. You may also omit the tumeric/yellow colouring if you prefer a natural, pale translucent yellow.