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A Zesty Twist: Ultimate Chinese Lemon Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, then you're probably familiar with the popular takeout dish, Chinese Lemon Chicken. This sweet and tangy dish is a favourite for many, and it's no surprise why. The crispy chicken coated in a delicious lemon sauce is simply irresistible. But have you ever considered making this dish at home? With this Chinese Lemon Chicken Stir Fry Recipe, you can enjoy this classic dish in the comfort of your own home.

Sizzling wok with chunks of golden-brown chicken, vibrant yellow lemon slices, and colorful stir-fry vegetables

To make this dish, you'll need a few simple ingredients, including chicken breast, green beans, corn starch, soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame oil, and of course, lemons. The chicken is first marinated in a mixture of corn starch, kosher salt, and water before being stir-fried with the green beans. The sauce is then made by combining soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame oil, lemon juice, and corn starch. The sauce is added to the stir-fried chicken and green beans, creating a delicious and flavourful dish.

This Chinese Lemon Chicken Stir Fry Recipe is perfect for those who want to enjoy their favourite takeout dish without having to leave their home. With a few simple ingredients and some basic cooking techniques, you can create a restaurant-quality dish that is sure to impress. So why not give it a try?

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese Lemon Chicken is a popular takeout dish that can be easily made at home with a few simple ingredients.
  • This recipe calls for chicken breast and green beans, but seafood can be used as a substitution for a unique twist.
  • The sauce is a combination of soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame oil, lemon juice, and corn starch, creating a sweet and tangy flavour that complements the chicken and green beans.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A wok sizzles with diced chicken, lemon slices, and colorful vegetables, surrounded by bottles of soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar

When it comes to making Chinese lemon chicken stir fry, the right ingredients can make all the difference. Here are some tips on choosing the right ingredients and possible substitutions:

Choosing Your Chicken

For the best results, choose boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast. Chicken thighs are a great option because they are more flavourful and tender than chicken breast. However, if you prefer chicken breast, it can also be used in this recipe.

If you want to add seafood to the recipe, you can use shrimp or scallops. They will add a nice texture and flavour to the dish.

Lemon Sauce Components

The lemon sauce is what gives this dish its signature tangy flavour. The main components of the sauce are lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, salt, and soy sauce. If you don't have fresh lemons, you can use bottled lemon juice, but the flavour won't be as bright.

For a more authentic flavour, you can use Chinese Shaoxing wine or sherry instead of soy sauce. However, if you don't have either of those, soy sauce is a good substitute.

Oil Selection for Frying

For frying the chicken, vegetable oil or canola oil are good choices. They have a high smoke point, which means they can be heated to a high temperature without burning. This is important for achieving a crispy exterior on the chicken.

If you want to add seafood to the recipe, you can use sesame oil to fry the seafood. It will add a nutty flavour to the dish.

Selecting the right ingredients and making substitutions where necessary can help you achieve the perfect Chinese lemon chicken stir fry.

Preparation Techniques

Fresh ingredients, including sliced chicken, lemon wedges, and stir-fry sauce, arranged on a clean, organized kitchen counter

Marinating the Chicken

One of the most important steps in making Chinese lemon chicken stir fry is marinating the chicken. The marinade helps to infuse the chicken with flavour and keep it juicy. To make the marinade, you will need soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. You can also add a little bit of honey or brown sugar to balance out the flavours.

To marinate the chicken, simply mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl or plastic bag and add the chicken. Make sure the chicken is fully coated with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. For a more intense flavour, marinate the chicken overnight.

Creating the Batter

The batter is what gives Chinese lemon chicken stir fry its crispy coating. To create the batter, you will need corn starch, egg, and water. For a wet batter, add more water to the mixture. For a crispy coating, add more corn starch.

To create the batter, whisk together the egg and water in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the corn starch with a pinch of salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then coat it in the corn starch mixture.

Achieving Crispy Chicken

To achieve crispy chicken, it is important to deep fry the chicken in hot oil. The oil temperature should be around 350°F/175°C. If the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will be soggy. If the oil is too hot, the chicken will burn.

Once the chicken is coated in batter, carefully place it in the hot oil. Fry the chicken in small batches to ensure that it cooks evenly. Remove the chicken from the oil once it is golden brown and crispy.

If you prefer seafood, you can also use shrimp or calamari in this recipe. Simply substitute the chicken for shrimp or calamari and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Cooking Process

Sizzling wok with diced chicken, lemon slices, and colorful vegetables being stir-fried in a fragrant sauce

Stir Frying Fundamentals

To make Chinese lemon chicken stir fry, you will need to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. This includes the chicken, green onions, garlic, and ginger. The chicken should be cut into bite-sized pieces, and the green onions, garlic, and ginger should be finely chopped.

Heat up a wok or a large frying pan over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the wok. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir fry it until it is golden brown and crispy.

Sauce Simmering and Thickening

While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, mix together chicken stock, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set it aside.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the wok and set it aside. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, then add the green onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry them for a minute or two until they are fragrant.

Next, add the sauce to the wok and bring it to a simmer. Stir the sauce constantly until it thickens and becomes sticky. Once the sauce is thickened, add the chicken back to the wok and toss it with the sauce until it is evenly coated.

If you want to add seafood to this recipe, you can use shrimp or scallops. Simply stir fry them in the wok before adding the chicken. Make sure to cook them until they are pink and opaque before removing them from the wok and setting them aside. Add them back to the wok with the chicken at the end.

Flavour Enhancements

A sizzling wok tosses chunks of chicken, vibrant bell peppers, and zesty lemon slices in a fragrant garlic and ginger sauce. Steam rises, carrying the mouthwatering aroma of savory and tangy flavors

If you want to add an extra zing to your Chinese Lemon Chicken stir fry, there are a few flavour enhancements you can try. Here are some ideas:

Garnishing for Extra Zest

Garnishing your Chinese Lemon Chicken stir fry with sesame seeds, green onion, or spring onion can add an extra layer of flavour and texture. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the dish for a nutty crunch, or add some chopped green onion or spring onion to give it a fresh, herbaceous taste.

Adjusting Sweetness and Tanginess

If you prefer your Chinese Lemon Chicken stir fry to be sweeter, you can adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe. Granulated sugar or brown sugar can be used to achieve the desired level of sweetness.

On the other hand, if you want your dish to be more tangy, you can add more lemon juice or black pepper to the sauce. This will give it a sharper, more acidic taste.

Seafood can also be a great addition to this recipe. For example, you could try adding some prawns or scallops to the stir fry for a delicious seafood twist. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure that the seafood is cooked through.

There are many ways to enhance the flavour of your Chinese Lemon Chicken stir fry. Whether you choose to garnish it with sesame seeds and green onion, or adjust the sweetness and tanginess to your liking, these tips will help you create a delicious and satisfying meal.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

A sizzling wok with vibrant chunks of lemon chicken, surrounded by fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs. A side of steamed rice and a glass of chilled white wine complete the scene

Accompaniments

Chinese Lemon Chicken Stir Fry is a zesty and quick main dish that pairs well with a variety of sides. Fried rice, noodles, and white rice are all excellent options to pair with this dish. The stir fry is already loaded with vegetables, but you could also serve it with a side of steamed or stir-fried veggies for extra nutrition.

If you're looking to add some seafood to the dish, shrimp or scallops would be excellent additions. Simply add them to the stir fry towards the end of cooking and let them cook until tender.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

When it comes to beverages, freshly squeezed lemon juice is an excellent complement to the dish. You could also serve it with a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. For those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, a glass of iced tea or lemonade would be refreshing choices.

To summarise, Chinese Lemon Chicken Stir Fry is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of sides and beverages. Try serving it with fried rice or noodles, steamed veggies, or a side of white rice. If you're feeling adventurous, add some shrimp or scallops to the dish. And don't forget to pair it with a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice or a crisp white wine.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling wok with chunks of chicken, vibrant yellow lemon slices, and colorful stir-fry vegetables, emitting fragrant aromas

How do you make the sauce for Chinese lemon chicken?

The sauce for Chinese lemon chicken is easy to make. You will need soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, ginger, garlic and chili garlic sauce. Simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

What's the secret to tender chicken in stir-fries?

The secret to tender chicken in stir-fries is to velvet the chicken before cooking. Velveting is a technique that involves marinating the chicken in a mixture of cornstarch, egg whites, and rice wine. This helps to tenderize the chicken and keep it moist during cooking.

Can you recommend an easy lemon chicken stir-fry recipe?

Yes, I can recommend an easy lemon chicken stir-fry recipe. One such recipe is to stir-fry chicken with garlic, ginger, and green onions until the chicken is cooked through. Then, add a mixture of soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens. Serve over rice or noodles.

How can I incorporate noodles into a lemon chicken stir-fry?

To incorporate noodles into a lemon chicken stir-fry, simply cook the noodles separately according to package instructions. Then, add the cooked noodles to the pan with the stir-fried chicken and sauce. Toss everything together until well combined.

What's the best way to serve lemon chicken stir-fry with rice?

The best way to serve lemon chicken stir-fry with rice is to spoon the chicken and sauce over a bed of steamed rice. You can also garnish the dish with sliced green onions or sesame seeds for added flavour and texture.

Is there a healthier version of Chinese lemon chicken stir-fry?

Yes, there is a healthier version of Chinese lemon chicken stir-fry. You can use skinless chicken breast instead of dark meat to reduce the fat content. Additionally, you can use less oil and sugar in the sauce to make it healthier. You can also substitute some or all of the chicken with seafood, such as shrimp or scallops, for a healthier and more diverse meal.