How To Make Chinese Food Lemon Chicken, The Original Cantonese Style?
by | May 2, 2021
How to make Chinese food Lemon Chicken? Today, we wanted to show you how to make an old school Cantonese dish, lemon chicken.
This dish is easy to love… it’s a bit of boneless chicken, coated and deep fried,and served with a sweet lemony sauce.
Now that said, there seems to be a lot of confusion online about Lemon chicken, with many people insisting that it’s an inauthentic takeout invention.
While it does seem to have some Western influences, rest assured that this is originally a Hong Kong dish, less common nowadays but certainly something you can find in Guangdong.
How To Make Chinese Food Lemon Chicken?
But regardless, origins aside… to get started with lemon chicken, you’ll need lemon.
Here we’re using half a lemon, and the Western influence’ll become immediately obvious because first you’ll wanna zest it.
Zesting’s not really something you see very often in Chinese cooking, which’s why we don’t actually own a zester.
Now cut the lemon into slices, squeeze out the juice, and set that aside.
Now for the chicken.
Sometimes you’ll see this done using a whole deboned chicken, but we went with chicken breast, 250 grams worth.
Butterfly by cutting into the breast, unfold it, and make sure it’s relatively flat.
Now in order to get your marinade to actually… do something, carefully cut small grooves into the chicken about a centimeter apart, then turn the guy 90 degrees and do the same thing to get a checkboard pattern.
Transfer over to a bowl and toss in a teaspoon of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, a teaspoon of light soy sauce, half teaspoon sugar, half teaspoon salt, and a quarter teaspoon white pepper powder.
Now do a bang up job massaging the marinade into the chicken, and set that aside for a half an hour to marinate… and as that’s marinating, we’ll prep the sauce.
So to fifty milliliters of water, first add in a teaspoon stock concentrate, mix well, and obviously feel free to use stock here instead.
Then toss in a quarter teaspoon salt, or half teaspoon if using homemade stock, two tablespoons sugar, and a quarter teaspoon of custard powder.
I know custard powder’s probably more common in Hong Kong than it is in the West, but it’ll really help balance the acidity of the lemon juice here.
Mix well, and set aside.
Now to deep fry, we’ll be using an egg cornstarch batter… so first crack an egg and whisk it until no stray strands of egg white remain.
Now to that egg add in six tablespoons of cornstarch, and mix it for a couple minutes until a smooth batter forms.
Then grab your chicken, toss in a tablespoon of cornstarch and coat well… this will help the batter stick.
Now go in with your batter, rub onto the chicken, making sure that everything’s nice and coated.
Transfer that over to a plate of dry cornstarch, flip it around, get it good and even, and this is ready to deep fry.
So now in a wok with about two cups of oil, get that up until it’s about 180 centigrade.
Drop in your chicken, and don’t touch it.
This’ll lower the temperature, which’s fine because we’re aiming to fry this at 170.
After about two minutes, once the coating’s hardened up a bit, flip, and continue to fry, pouring over some hot oil if it’s peaking out a bit.
Continue to fry for about two minutes, then flip again, and fry for about a minute until everything’s lightly golden brown.
Take out the chicken, then get the oil up to about 200 centigrade, drop it in and give that a second fry for thirty seconds.
Remove the cutlet, transfer over to a paper towel lined plate, and this guy’s good to go.
Now the sauce for this is dead simple, in a separate pot over medium heat add in about a tablespoon of oil and toss in two crushed cloves of garlic and an inch of crushed ginger.
Fry those for about thirty seconds til fragrant, then pour about a teaspoon of liaojiu wine over your spatula and swirl it around the pot.
Then go in with your sauce… let that boil together for about a minute, then remove the garlic and the ginger.
Now go in with the lemon juice and zest… this stuff’s added later in order to preserve the fragrance of the lemon.
Then after about fifteen seconds, go in with a slurry of a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with tablespoon water… bring to a boil to let that thicken right up, about 30 seconds, and you should be looking at something about this consistency.
Now with the sauce ready to go, take your fried chicken and slice into about inch and a half by two inch pieces.
Transfer over to a plate, and smother that all with your lemon sauce.
Optionally toss on some additional lemon slices if you had no other plans for them, garnish with a totally superfluous piece of cilantro. and with that, your lemon chicken is done.
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