Thursday, September 03, 2009

Good but not the best

Lemon Chicken
Quick and Easy Chinese Copyright 2008

1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black or white pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the lemon sauce:
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger (optional) I used jarred ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions Dang! I forgot to buy these. They were sold out the first time I tried.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork or a whisk to mix everything well. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise and on the diagonal to make wide, thin pieces. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour and coat it well, and then gently shake off any excess. Arrange floured chicken pieces on a large plate and set by the stove.

To make the lemon sauce: Conbine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir well. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock, sugar, ginger (if using), soy sauce and salt. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and mix well. Stir in the lemon juice, and as soon as the sauce is boiling gently again, add the cornstarch. Cook, stirring often, as the sauce turns cloudy, then clean and thickens to a shiny, glossy state, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm while you prepare the chicken.

To cook the chicken, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, until a pinch of flour dropped into the oil blossoms at once. Cook in batches, placing pieces of chicken in the oil (the should sizzle immediately), and leaving a little room between so you can turn them easily and avoid crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until golden and crisp, and cooked through, and then transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a serving platter as they are done. Cook the remaining chicken the same way.

Pour the hot lemon sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the green onion and serve hot.

This was good but honestly, it wasn't as good as Baked Lemon Chicken. I prefer the other lemon sauce and the baked chicken is probably even better, with a nicer coating, than this fried version. Again, today's recipe was very good, but the Baked Lemon Chicken is one of my favorite recipes. I really shouldn't have attempted another version but you never know.

I had a couple of minor problems with this recipe. First of all, 1 1/2 cups of flour to coat a pound of chicken breasts lightly? What a waste. I didn't make the chicken until after work so I was feeling a bit rushed or I would have caught that and halved the flour mixture and even that would have been way too much.

The recipe also made a lot more sauce than needed. Even though it was good, that much sauce just wasn't necessary - the recipe makes almost 2 cups. That was plenty to cover the chicken and rice with a lot extra.

Last night I grabbed some hamburger patties out of the freezer for tonight because I had nothing else planned. I got stumped last week while menu planning. I hate not having everything planned ahead. Last night I only needed to plan 3 recipes for next week and I was still stumped. I had to take a break from the 'use up what I have' angle of menu planning because it wasn't getting me anywhere. It was getting boring too.

Question of the Day: Do you like Chinese food? What do you usually order? That's the same question I asked when I made the Baked Lemon Chicken but it's been over 2 years so maybe you have a new answer or maybe you weren't around two years ago.


La Pixie said...

I usually order Orange Chicken or some type of spicy beef. I really want to try this lemon chicken first, and then attempt the one that you like better.

Mrs. L said...

Love Chinese food! These days I usually order Beef Chow Fun. I never used to order it because I confused it with Egg Fu Young which I don't like. So I'm definitely on a Beef Chow Fun kick (before that it was always Mongolian Beef).

Heather said...

I love Chinese food but have a hard time ordering out because the soy sauce everywhere uses has wheat in it and I'm gluten-free.

My dad makes excellent chicken with broccoli and fried rice, he has been seasoning his wok for 25 years and I think that is the secret (yes, he does wash it LOL). He uses Martin Yan's recipes.

Huckleberry Friend said...

Hi Paula! Its been a while...I hope you are well! Its good to be back here and commenting after a long hiatus and change of blog format!

Anyway, lemon chicken is a favorite of mine so thanks for sharing this! Oh, I ordered Chinese food last night but didn't order what I love. Doing the healthy thing lately with steamed chicken and broccoli with brown rice. What I love and wish I ate was chicken chow fun!