Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Lemon Chicken Tuesday

I'm not a big fan of frying food. Don't misunderstand that to mean that I don't like fried food, just that I don't like doing the frying. I hate the mess of grease spatters and the frustration of trying to maintain a constant oil temperature. Maybe I lack a Southern gene. Those fabulous, hospitable cooks in the South seem to have an ability (perhaps compulsion) to fry anything that looks remotely edible. Hence fried okra.

Because of this (the frustration, not the okra) I rarely make this dish, even though it is delicious. But since I'm doing a week of lemons, this seemed an appropriate addition. I love the tangy sauce and, when fried correctly, the outside of the chicken is crisp and the inside is moist and tender. It's wonderful served with rice and a side dish of crisp broccoli for color and texture complement. Oh, and health. Can you tell that vegetables are usually an afterthought at my house?

Lemon Chicken, Hunan Style - serves 6

(The picture doesn't show a how much a full recipe makes. I didn't think it would be photogenic having it all heaped up.)

4- 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (depending on the size of the chicken breasts. More for small breasts, fewer for larger breasts)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1 egg
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp baking soda
Lemon Sauce (below)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Heat oil (1 to 1-1/2 inches) to 360 degrees in a fry pan. Beat remaining ingredients except Lemon Sauce and lemon slices with hand beater until smooth. Dip chicken pieces one at a time into batter. Fry 2 pieces at a time into batter. Fry 2 pieces at a time until golden brown, turning once, about 7 minutes. Trying to fry too many pieces at once will lower the oil temp and will result in greasy, undercooked chicken. Euww. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Cut chicken crosswise into 1/2 inch slices; arrange in single layer on heated platter. Keep warm. Prepare Lemon Sauce; pour over chicken. Garnish with lemon slices.

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp catsup
1/2 tsp instant chicken bouillon (1/2 a cube)
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water

Heat 1/2 cup water, the lemon peel, lemon juice, honey, catsup, bouillon, salt and garlic to boiling. Mix cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water; stir into sauce. Cook and stir until thickened, about 30 seconds.

Tip: If you're having company over and don't want to greet them covered with grease, do the frying up to 24 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate the chicken. To reheat, place the chicken on an ungreased cookie sheet in 400 degree oven until hot, 10 to 12 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.


Anonymous said...

This post is so lonely I felt the need to comment. The pictures suck, period. I can say that cause I took them. They do not do the yumminess a service. I loved this dish, and think my theighs still bare marks of it's tastiness. Make it again some time, even if people don't comment.

Anonymous said...


I made this dish tonight, feeling oh-so-inspired by you and your blog. It turned out wonderfully and the sauce was delicious!

I was also pleased at how easy it all came together. This was quite the crowd pleaser this rainy night and I thank you so much for the recipe!

Love, Molly & Co.

Belinda said...

I'm a southern girl, and believe me, even some of us southerners don't like the mess and grease associated with fried foods! I do love fried okra though...I'll readily admit it! This chicken looks really, really good. :-)