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Chicken, Chinese

Lemon Chicken

I think I’d better stop putting recipes from Ken Hom’s new cookbook on my blog or I’ll end up with all of them here and that might be open to some kind of copyright infringement. I just think his recipes are genius, so well balanced and even the portion sizes are always spot on.

This is a classic Chinese dish and I’d recommend anyone to try it. The processes are a bit different to Western cooking but they’re still really easy and it’s well worth learning the different ways of working with food and the different results you can achieve.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 450g boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • Salt
  • 300ml groundnut / vegetable oil OR water

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 65ml chicken stock OR water
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine OR Dry Sherry
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1tsp cornflour blended with 1 tsp water
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

For The Garnish:

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions

Method of Preparation:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into strips 7.5cm (3in) long. Combine them with the egg white, sesame oil, cornflour and 1 tsp of salt in a bowl, and put it into the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is very hot and then add the oil (if using water, see below). When the oil is very hot, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the chicken piees, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking together. After about 2 minutes, when the chicken has turned white, quickly drain it in a stainless steel colander set over a bowl. Discard the oil.
  3. If you choose to use water instead of oil (like me), bring it to a boil in a pan. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking together. After about 2 minutes, when the chicken has turned white, quickly drain it in a stainless steeel colander set over a bowl. Discard the water.
  4. Wipe the wok or frying pan clean with kitchen paper and reheat it. Add the sauce ingredients except for the cornflour mixture and sesame oil. Bring to the boil over a high heat and then add the cornflour mixture. Simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Return the chicken strips to the sauce and stir-fry them long enough to coat them all with the sauce, then stir in the sesame oil and mix once again.
  6. Turn everything onto a platter, garnish with the spring onions and serve at once

If you’re just having this as a mid week meal I’d suggest putting it with some simple egg fried rice otherwise it will be a great addition to a large banquet.

Another Ken Hom Classic!

For us the chilli was more prevalent than the lemon juice so I’ll probably add another tablespoon of lemon next time as the heat level was really nice. This isn’t like the battered strips of chicken breast you get in the takeaway with a thick lemon sauce, this is a really fresh and complex dish.

What are you favourites from the Chinese takeaway? I reckon Ken will have it in his book The Complete Chinese Cookbook and I’d be more than happy to give it a go.

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