I don’t know where I got this recipe for Chinese lemon chicken, but I’ve been making it for many years. The sauce has a vigorous lemon flavor, and the chicken is nice and crispy. The crispy coating is made with cornstarch, which fries up beautifully. Serve with sticky rice and a vegetable side dish.
The lemon sauce is very tart, which is how we like it. Make the sauce early so that it has time to sit, then taste it before you stir in the vegetables. You can always choose to skip the lemon extract if the flavor is tart enough for you. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, you can add 1 tablespoon of sugar or simple syrup to the sauce while it cooks.
Make It Gluten Free
Gluten-free condiments that were once difficult to find are now on grocery store shelves. I have modified the ingredients to include gluten-free versions. Always read labels to make sure that a food item is gluten free.
Chinese Lemon Chicken
- one gallon plastic zip bag
- 2 pie plates
- 10-inch cast iron skillet
- 1 quart sauce pan
Chicken & Marinade
- 4 whole chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free Chinese rice wine
- 3 egg whites (beaten until frothy,)
- 1 cup cornstarch
- vegetable oil
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 cup gluten-free chicken stock (or bouillon with water)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 small carrots (cut in thinnest possible strips (julienne))
- ½ large green pepper (cut in thinnest possible strips (julienne))
- 3 green onions (cut in thinnest possible strips (julienne))
- ½ cup crushed canned pineapple (optional)
- ½ oz lemon extract
- ¼ head lettuce (iceberg or romaine or green leaf)
Marinate the Chicken
- Place the chicken in a gallon plastic zip bag. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and gin and pour over the chicken. Zip up the bag and turn it over to coat the chicken. Let sit for 30 minutes.
While the Chicken Marinates
- Place the sugar, vinegar, stock, cornstarch mixed with water, and lemon juice and rind in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook stirring, until the mixture thickens.
- Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Put the egg whites in a pie plate and beat. Add the chicken to the beaten egg whites and toss to coat. Put the cornstarch in the other pie plate and roll the chicken pieces in it to coat.
- Add oil to a skillet to a depth of one-half inch and heat to 350° F. Add the chicken, one piece at a time if necessary, and brown on both sides. Drain thoroughly.
- Cut the drained chicken into one-inch crosswise slices and place it on top of the lettuce on a serving platter. If necessary, keep warm in a 200° F oven.
- Add the vegetables and pineapple to the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon extract. Pour over the chicken.