Today we are cooking crispy lemon chicken. I will show you how to make the perfect lemon sauce that can pair with any meat; I will also talk about a couple of prepping tips so you can process bigger batches at once and save for the future meal.
Deep frying uses a large amount of oil, which is a hassle for a lot of people. In this video, I will give you a trick to shallow fry with less oil and get the same crispy result. Let’s start cooking.
INGREDIENTS (serves 3 people with some white rice)
To marinate the chicken
- 1 lb (450g) of chicken breast or boneless chicken tight
- 1 tbsp of minced garlic
- 1 tsp of ginger
- black pepper to taste
- 1.5 tsp of soy sauce
- 1.5 tsp of Chinese cooking wine
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp of Honey
- 4 tbsp of brown sugar
- 3.5 tbsp of lemon juice
- 3.5 tbsp of Soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of sambal chili sauce
- 1 tbsp of Lemon zest
- 3 tbsp of water + 1 tbsp of cornstarch
- 2/3 cup of cornstarch
- 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of oil to shallow fry
- Diced scallion as garnish
I have got here some boneless chicken breast. Cut it into big strips then slice into bite-size pieces. You can also use chicken thigh if you prefer dark meat.
Marinate it with 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1 tsp of minced ginger, 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce and some black pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and let it rest for 20 minutes.
While waiting, we will make the sauce. Combine the following ingredients in a sauce bowl: 2 tbsp of honey, 4 tbsp of brown sugar, 3.5 tbsp of Soy sauce, 2 tbsp of sambal chili sauce (optional), 3 tbsp of water, and 1 tbsp of cornstarch.
A big lemon, use a peeler and slice the lemon skin off. Make sure you don’t get the white bitter layer. We only need a few slices (1 tbsp). Thinly julienne it then dice it finely and add it to the sauce.
Use a fork to help to squeeze the juice, we need about 3.5 tbsp. I am putting the juice in a separate bowl first so I can get rid of the seeds. Mix thoroughly. This sauce is very versatile. I have tried it with other proteins such as shrimp, pork and beef. They come out delicious as well.
Tip No 1: for meal prepping. This amount is enough to pair with 1 lb of meat. You can make multiple batches and keep it in the freezer. It will stay good for 6 months. Don’t worry about using a glass container because the liquid will not solidify due to the high sugar and salt content. It stays fluent in the freezer so you can use it anytime without defrosting.
Next, we are going to bread the chicken. In a large zip lock bag, combine 2/3 cups of cornstarch and 2/3 cups of all-purpose. Shake well. Cornstarch is the key to make the chicken crispy. If you use 100% all-purpose flour, the breading will come out doughy.
Add the marinaded chicken. Lightly spread it first then shake again. Open the bag and remove the chicken. A sieve is very helpful at shaking off the excess flour. Put the chicken back into the bowl and crack in one egg. Go in with your hand and mix thoroughly.
Put the chicken back into the bag. We are coating it twice because a thicker breading will protect the breast meat from drying out. This plastic trick makes the coating process faster without any mess. Imagine you are coating the chicken one by one? Takes forever.
Use a sieve to get rid of the excess flour again. Let the chicken rest on the side for 15 minutes so the flour can have enough time to bond together and it will fall off less during the frying.
Meanwhile, add 2/3 cups of oil to your wok. Compared to deep-frying, shallow fry use so much less oil but it also leads to uneven cooking. The tip for success is to start with a higher oil temperature. The chicken will bring down the temperature when you add it to the wok. A high starting point will ensure the meat is fried properly.
I am heating the oil to 400 F. Split the chicken into two batches. Fry each batch over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes on each side. Flip and make sure the other side is also crispy. Remove from the oil and set the chicken aside.
Before you fried the next batch, remove the starch clumps from the oil by using a fine sieve. Add the rest of the chicken and continue to fry.
Tip No.2: for meal prepping – you can freeze the chicken right after you fry them. They stay good for 5-6 months in the freezer. Whenever you want to eat them again, you heat it up in an air fryer (400 F for 8-10 minutes), or an oven ( 450 F for 12-14 minutes). Then coat it with the sauce and you have your quick delicious dinner ready.
Remove all the chicken to the side and clean up the wok. Pour the sauce and stir over medium heat.
When you see the sauce is thickened, introduce the chicken back into the wok, along with 1.5 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds. Toss everything until the chicken is coated nicely.
A lot of the time when you order lemon chicken from take-out, they are not crispy anymore. My suggestion for you is to make sure everybody is ready to eat and do the last step to combine the chicken with the sauce. The longer you let it sit before serving, the less crispy it will be.
Look how good they are? Em, I just like these crispy chicken bites that are covered with a glossy sauce. It is lemony, savory, and tangy sauce, and smells very citrus. The meat is tender and juicy. This is a perfect lemon chicken recipe. Hope you give it a try soon.
Crispy Lemon Chicken (柠檬鸡)
To marinate the chicken
For the sauce
- Cut the boneless chicken breast or thigh into big strips, then slice into bite-size pieces.
- Marinate the chicken with minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, and black pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and rest it for 20 minutes.
- While waiting, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. This sauce is versatile; it works great with other proteins such as shrimp, pork, and beef.
- Tip No 1 for meal prepping: This amount is enough to pair with 1 lb of meat. You can make multiple batches and keep them in the freezer for up to six months. The sauce will not solidify in the freezer due to the high sugar and salt content, so you can use it anytime without defrosting.
- The next step is to bread the chicken. Combine 2/3 cups of cornstarch and 2/3 cups of all-purpose in a large zip lock bag, then shake well. Cornstarch is the key to making the chicken crispy. The breading will come out doughy if you use 100% all-purpose flour.
- Add the marinated chicken into the bag and shake until well-coated. Use a sieve to get rid of the excess flour and transfer the chicken into a bowl.
- Crack one egg into the chicken and mix thoroughly. Put the chicken back into the bag and shake to coat it twice because a thicker breading will protect the breast meat from drying out.
- Use a sieve to get rid of the excess flour again. Let the chicken rest on the side for 15 minutes so the flour can have enough time to bond together, and it will fall off less during the frying.
- Meanwhile, heat 2/3 cups of oil to 400 F. Shallow frying uses less oil than deep-frying. Since the food is only partly submerged, it must be flipped over partway through the cooking process. The bigger the item is, the lower the frying temperature should be. These chicken bites are small, so we start with 400 F.
- Fry the chicken in two batches over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes on each side or until both sides are golden brown. Before you fry the second batch, remove the flour crumbs from the oil using a fine sieve.
- Tip No.2 for meal prepping - freeze the chicken after frying for 5-6 months. Whenever you want to eat them again, heat them in an air fryer (400 F for 8-10 minutes), or an oven ( 450 F for 12-14 minutes). Then coat it with the sauce, and you have your quick delicious dinner ready.
- Remove the chicken to the side and pour out most of the oil from the wok. Then pour in the sauce and stir over medium heat for a few minutes or until it thickens.
- Introduce the chicken to the wok with 1.5 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds. Toss everything until the chicken is coated with the sauce, and serve with white rice. Make sure everybody is ready to eat and do the last step to combine the chicken with the sauce. The longer you let it sit before serving, the less crispy it will be.