I’ve been craving Lemon Chicken for quite some time and finally found the perfect day to make it! This recipe is a homemade version of the take-out classic that tastes just as good, if not better, then what you would get in a restaurant. It’s fairly simple to make and delivers a delicious balance between tangy and savory flavors, with crispy chicken and a citrus sauce.
The recipe can be found here.
Don’t let the number of ingredients or steps scare you away! A lot of the ingredients are repeated throughout the marinade, batter, and sauce recipes, and the steps don’t take that long. Plus, this is a recipe you can work on ahead of time and come back to when ready to cook.
The first step is to marinate the chicken. Slice each chicken breast into thin strips (or buy boneless skinless chicken tenders if you want to skip having to slice the meat).
Mix together all ingredients needed to create the marinade in a shallow dish – vegetable oil, eggs, cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, and white pepper. Add the chicken to the shallow dish and gently toss to coat the chicken.
Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes but the chicken can stay this way until you are ready to move forward with the recipe. I sometimes start this step in the AM and let the chicken marinate in the fridge all day, to save time later.
Next, prepare the batter for frying the chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place in a separate bowl. Keep the marinade in the bowl, do not throw away, as this will be the base for the batter. Add the batter ingredients to the bowl – flour, water, cornstarch, vegetable oil, baking soda, and salt.
I like to add all the chicken back to the batter bowl at this time and toss to coat. If you prefer, you can dip each piece in the batter when ready to fry, if you are using a smaller bowl. I like to create less work for myself, so I like the chicken pieces to be pre-battered and ready to go! Then I just pull a few pieces out at a time and fry in batches.
Heat oil in a deep fryer according to directions for the fryer, heating to 350 degrees. If you don’t own a deep fryer you can also use a wok for this step. I like using a deep fryer but it’s just personal preference! If using a wok, heat approximately 2 Tbsp oil to 350 degrees.
Fry 2-3 pieces at a time until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and keep warm in a 200-degree oven until all chicken pieces have been fried.
Increase the oil temperature to 375 degrees. Add about ½ of the chicken back to the wok or deep fryer, and fry for about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and fry the other ½ of the chicken a second time, for about 2 minutes.
The final step is to prepare the sauce. The sauce can be assembled earlier in the day if you simply want to reheat and enjoy! Just make sure to remove the lemon peel before storing, or the flavor might be a bit overwhelming 🙂 Otherwise, you can also get all the ingredients ready, and heat while the chicken is frying.
Add all ingredients to a sauce pan, except for the corn starch and cold water – chicken broth, honey, lemon juice, corn syrup, vinegar, vegetable oil, ketchup, garlic, salt, white pepper, and lemon peel. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, combing the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl. Pour into the boiling sauce and stir. This will help thicken the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. You’ll want to remove the lemon peels before serving. I like to pour the sauce through a strainer into a large bowl to catch everything.
You can either toss the chicken with some of the sauce (keep a portion separate so you don’t add too much) or serve separate with the sauce on the side. It’s all about personal preference! I tend to keep the chicken and sauce separate but add waaaaaaaay to much sauce to my chicken when plating my meal 🙂 It’s ok though, the sauce tastes great with rice, so it’s a win win!
The chicken is crispy and crunchy, and served hot and fresh from the deep fryer. The sauce is citrusy and packed with flavor. The rice is light and refreshing, and pairs well with both the chicken and sauce. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!