The Sweet and Savory Life
Years ago, I tried a lemon chicken entree at my favorite Chinese restaurant. It was both sweet and savory and was pan-fried with a thin breading, then sliced into strips. The sauce was a thick, sweet, and very lemony glaze. Then one day the chef changed the recipe and deep-fried the chicken in tempura batter. Now don’t get me wrong, the new recipe was very popular, but I loved the old recipe. I thought the new tempura crust on the chicken was too thick and was more about eating the tempura than the chicken, whereas the crust from the old recipe was just the right balance between chicken and crust.
So, I set out to duplicate the sweet and savory original lemon chicken recipe. Chicken fillets are pan-fried and then sliced. The slices don’t have any breading where they were cut, which makes a perfect ratio of breading to chicken. This dish is garnished with lemons to look pretty and for taste. Squeeze as many lemons as you want over this dish to give it an extra lemon kick. The lemon glaze is made from cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice. This was the original sauce used by the restaurant. For a less sweet sauce, cut back on the sugar. To make a thinner sauce, add more water.
Chinese Style Lemon Chicken
Prep time, 15 minutes;
Cooking time, 25 minutes;
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
- 3/4 – 1 cup flour
- cooking oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Salt and pepper chicken. Then dredge chicken in flour.
- On medium heat, sauté chicken cutlets 3-4 minutes and then turn them and sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Do not crowd the pan. Remove to a platter and slice cutlets into strips. Cover.
- Lemon Glaze
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir until well mixed. Gradually stir in the water until smooth. On medium heat, stir constantly and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for approximately one minute until glaze thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter until the butter melts.
- Pour the glaze over the cooked chicken. Place lemon slices on or around the chicken. Just before serving, squeeze a few of the lemon slices over the chicken.
Sweet and Savory Notes
- For gluten-free, use Cup4Cup or Measure For Measure Gluten-Free Flour.
- If the lemon glaze thickens too much, thin with water.
- This dish goes well with steamed rice and broccoli.