Chinese Honey Lemon Chicken
Categories: chicken, entree
Keywords: canola oil, chicken breast, cilantro, cornstarch, egg, ginger, green onion, honey, lemon juice, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, sherry, soy sauce, vinegar, white pepper, wok
Cornstarch is usually thought of as a thickener, but here it is used as a coating for frying. It comes out lighter and crisper than flour. In fact, I like the texture of these fried chicken breasts so much that I frequently serve them without the sauce and with only a bit of chopped green onion on top. Either way, they taste divine.
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 4 chicken breast halves, boned and skinned
- canola or peanut oil
- 2 green onions, chopped
- cilantro sprigs (optional)
- HONEY-LEMON SAUCE:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
TO MAKE THE CHICKEN:
Mix the egg, soy sauce, and white pepper together in shallow bowl. Add the chicken breast halves, coating thoroughly, then leave to soak in the egg mixture for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts from the egg mixture. Using a plastic or paper bag, coat the chicken completely with cornstarch. Shake off excess.
Pour enough canola or peanut oil into a skillet to come half way up the thickest part of the chicken. Heat until very hot. Add the chicken and fry until the coating is crisp and the chicken is tender, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels.
Serve each chicken piece sliced into long, parallel strips, drizzled with the Honey-Lemon Sauce, and garnished with freshly chopped green onions and cilantro sprigs.
TO MAKE THE HONEY-LEMON SAUCE:
While the chicken is soaking in the egg, make the Honey-Lemon Sauce. First, cut the ginger into 4 pieces, unpeeled. Put the 1/2 cup of water, ginger, honey, wine or sherry, vinegar, lemon juice and salt together in a small saucepan. Heat over low flame until all elements except for the ginger are dissolved and mixed together. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer, covered for 1 minute. Discard the ginger.
Mix the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with the 1 tablespoon of cold water, stirring until completely dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Let the sauce come back to the boil, raising the heat slightly if necessary. Simmer for 1 minute, or until the sauce forms a thick, syrup-like glaze. Turn off the heat. Cover and set aside while you cook the chicken.
Just before serving, uncover the sauce and reheat over a medium flame, stirring, until it reaches a low-boil. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of water. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
© 1998, Katherine Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified March 2007