Every now and again we get a magazine, courtesy of our realtor, Bill. It's mostly ads and some articles about home stuff, but it also includes recipes. That's where this came from, so although Bill didn't write it, I'm calling it Bill's Lemon Chicken anyhow.
The Big Geek LOVES lemon chicken. That's pretty much the only thing he ever orders from Chinese restaurants. I figured that if I could learn how to make it, he'd worship me.
I didn't read the recipe carefully, because if I had I'd have noticed the part where you fry the chicken in oil. I don't generally fry stuff. It's messy, and it's not all that healthy, and I always assume it will be greasy. Well, this was not that messy, and it didn't taste greasy at all. In fact, I liked it better than most of the Chinese take-out I've had. And it was really quick and easy to make.
For the chicken:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (you could easily use more chicken--there was PLENTY of the flour mixture--but then you might need to add oil before you got all of it cooked)
About 1/3 cup vegetable oil (for frying--enough that you have maybe 1/4 inch in the pan)
For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger (or the kind in the tube if you're lazy like me)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in large ziplock bag or bowl. Cut chicken breasts into strips. Coat with flour (I put mine in the bag and shake). Set aside.
2. Pour oil in large pan/skillet and heat over medium heat while you make the sauce. Up it to medium-high when you're about finished.
3. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock, sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Stir in the lemon juice, and as soon as the sauce is boiling again add the cornstarch (stir it again just before adding it). (note: this is a good time to up the heat on the oil.) Cook, stirring often, about 1 minute until sauce thickens and shines. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the chicken.
4. Test the oil by placing a pinch of flour in it. It should "blossom." Shake excess flour from chicken and place pieces into oil (it should sizzle instantly), with enough space to turn pieces. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through (yes, it really only took a couple of minutes per side and mine was cooked through). Remove to plate/serving platter and continue to cook chicken. I had plenty of oil for my chicken (I used 3 breasts). I don't know if I'd have had to add more if I'd cooked more chicken, but I probably would have.
5. Pour lemon sauce over chicken. Serve with rice/grain.
Amazingly easy and VERY good. The Big Geek did NOT worship me, but I had to remind myself that "good dinner, dear" is the most excitement he ever demonstrates over food. Plus, this is the man whose only response, if we ever win the lottery, will probably be a slight smile and one word: "sweet."
Since it's fried, we won't have it that often, but I bet this sauce would be good on a grilled or broiled chicken breast, too.