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Healthy Chinese Lemon Chicken Recipe

If you're looking for a healthy and delicious meal that's easy to make at home, look no further than Chinese lemon chicken. This classic dish combines succulent pieces of chicken with a tangy lemon sauce that's sure to please your taste buds. Plus, with the right ingredients and preparation techniques, you can make a version of this dish that's both healthy and satisfying.

A wok sizzles with stir-fried chicken, lemon slices, and vibrant vegetables, creating a fragrant and colorful Chinese lemon chicken dish

When it comes to choosing your ingredients for Chinese lemon chicken, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, opt for lean cuts of chicken to reduce the overall fat content of the dish. You can also use seafood, such as shrimp or scallops, to add some variety and nutrition to the recipe. Second, choose fresh, high-quality produce and spices to ensure that your dish is as flavourful as possible.

To prepare your Chinese lemon chicken, start by marinating your chicken in a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, and ginger. This will help to infuse the chicken with flavour and make it more tender. Then, coat the chicken in a mixture of cornstarch and flour before frying it until crispy. Finally, toss the chicken in a sweet and tangy lemon sauce and serve with your favourite garnishes.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese lemon chicken is a healthy and delicious meal that's easy to make at home.
  • Choose lean cuts of chicken or seafood and fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best results.
  • Marinate your chicken, coat it in a cornstarch and flour mixture, and toss it in a sweet and tangy lemon sauce for a flavourful and satisfying meal.

Choosing Your Ingredients

A person standing in a vibrant market, selecting fresh lemons, ginger, and chicken from colorful displays

When it comes to making healthy Chinese lemon chicken, the ingredients you use can make all the difference. Here are some tips for selecting the best ingredients for your recipe.

Selecting the Best Chicken

For the healthiest option, choose boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs. These cuts of chicken are lean and low in fat, making them a great choice for anyone looking to reduce their calorie intake. If you're feeling adventurous, you could even try using seafood such as shrimp or scallops in your recipe for a change of pace.

Fresh Lemons vs Lemon Juice

While fresh lemons are always a great choice, using lemon juice can be just as effective and much more convenient. If you're short on time, using bottled lemon juice is fine, but make sure you choose a high-quality brand with no added sugars or preservatives.

Healthy Oil Alternatives

When it comes to cooking your chicken, it's important to choose a healthy oil that won't add unnecessary calories or fat. Olive oil is a great option, but sesame oil can also add a unique flavour to your dish. If you're looking for a lower-fat alternative, try using a non-stick cooking spray instead.

By following these tips for selecting the best ingredients, you can create a healthy and delicious Chinese lemon chicken recipe that you and your family will love.

Preparation Techniques

A chef slicing fresh vegetables and marinating chicken in a tangy lemon sauce for a healthy Chinese lemon chicken recipe

Preparing Chinese lemon chicken is a straightforward process that requires a few basic techniques to achieve the perfect balance of crispy chicken and tangy lemon sauce. Here are the three main steps to follow when preparing this delicious dish.

Marinating the Chicken

The first step in preparing Chinese lemon chicken is to marinate the chicken. You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate it in a mixture of cornstarch, egg, and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes. This will help to tenderize the chicken and give it a nice flavor.

Creating the Crispy Coating

The next step is to create the crispy coating for the chicken. You can use a mixture of flour and cornstarch to create a dry coating, or you can create a wet batter using cornflour and water. Dip the marinated chicken pieces into the coating, making sure they are evenly coated.

If you want to add a seafood twist to your Chinese lemon chicken, you can use prawns or shrimp instead of chicken. Simply follow the same steps for marinating and coating the seafood.

Mixing the Tangy Lemon Sauce

The final step is to mix the tangy lemon sauce that gives this dish its signature flavor. In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then add a mixture of cornflour and water to thicken the sauce. Pour the sauce over the crispy chicken pieces and serve immediately.

By following these simple preparation techniques, you can create a healthy and delicious Chinese lemon chicken dish that is sure to impress your family and friends.

Cooking Method

Sizzling wok with stir-fried chicken, lemon slices, and colorful vegetables, emitting fragrant aroma of ginger and garlic

When it comes to cooking Chinese lemon chicken, there are two main methods that you can use: stir-frying in a wok and baking in the oven. Both methods have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it's up to you to decide which one is best for you.

Stir-Frying in a Wok

Stir-frying in a wok is the traditional way to cook Chinese lemon chicken. It's a quick and easy method that results in a crispy and flavourful dish. To stir-fry Chinese lemon chicken, you will need a wok and some vegetable oil or canola oil.

Here's how you can stir-fry Chinese lemon chicken:

  1. Heat your wok over high heat until it's smoking hot.
  2. Add some vegetable oil or canola oil to the wok and swirl it around to coat the sides.
  3. Add the chicken to the wok and stir-fry it for 3-4 minutes until it's golden brown and crispy.
  4. Remove the chicken from the wok and set it aside.
  5. Add the lemon sauce to the wok and stir-fry it for 1-2 minutes until it's thick and glossy.
  6. Add the chicken back to the wok and stir-fry it for another minute until it's coated in the sauce.

Baking for a Healthier Option

If you're looking for a healthier option, you can bake your Chinese lemon chicken in the oven. Baking is a low-fat method that results in a crispy and juicy dish. To bake Chinese lemon chicken, you will need an oven and some neutral oil like canola oil.

Here's how you can bake Chinese lemon chicken:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat the chicken with some cornflour and place it on a baking tray.
  3. Drizzle some neutral oil like canola oil over the chicken and toss to coat.
  4. Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes until it's golden brown and crispy.
  5. While the chicken is baking, prepare the lemon sauce.
  6. Toss the baked chicken in the lemon sauce and serve immediately.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add some seafood to your Chinese lemon chicken recipe. Shrimp or prawns would be a great addition to this dish. Simply stir-fry or bake the seafood along with the chicken and follow the same cooking method.

Serving and Garnishing

Lemon chicken dish on a white plate, garnished with fresh lemon slices and green herbs, surrounded by colorful vegetables

Once you have cooked your healthy Chinese lemon chicken, it's time to serve and garnish it to enhance its flavour. Here are some ideas for accompaniments and garnishes that will make your dish even more delicious.

Accompaniments

Rice or fried rice is a classic accompaniment to Chinese lemon chicken. You can use white rice, brown rice, or even jasmine rice. If you prefer something a bit more substantial, try serving your chicken with noodles instead.

If you want to add some seafood to your dish, you can try using prawns or scallops. Simply cook them separately and add them to the dish at the end.

Garnishes to Enhance Flavour

Garnishing your Chinese lemon chicken is a great way to add some extra flavour and texture to your dish. Here are some ideas for garnishes that will complement the flavours of the chicken:

  • Sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds add a nutty flavour and a bit of crunch to the dish. Sprinkle them over the chicken just before serving.
  • Spring onions: Chopped spring onions add a fresh, oniony flavour to the dish. Sprinkle them over the chicken just before serving.
  • Lemon slices: Thinly sliced lemon adds a bright, citrusy flavour to the dish. Place a few slices on top of the chicken just before serving.

Serving and garnishing your Chinese lemon chicken is a great way to enhance its flavour and make it even more delicious. Whether you choose to serve it with rice or noodles, or add some seafood or garnishes, your dish is sure to be a hit.

Storing and Reheating

A glass container filled with Chinese lemon chicken sits in the refrigerator. A microwave oven nearby is ready to reheat the healthy dish

When it comes to storing and reheating your Chinese Lemon Chicken, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Proper storage and reheating practices can help maintain the quality and flavour of your dish.

Storing Leftovers

If you have any leftovers, it's important to store them properly to prevent spoilage and maintain freshness. Store any leftover Chinese Lemon Chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. You can also freeze the chicken for up to 2 months if you want to store it for a longer period. However, it's not recommended to freeze the chicken in the lemon sauce as it may affect the texture and quality of the dish.

Best Reheating Practices

When reheating your Chinese Lemon Chicken, there are a few methods you can use. The best method depends on your preference and the equipment you have available. Here are some of the best reheating practices:

  • Microwave: This is the quickest and easiest way to reheat your Chinese Lemon Chicken. Simply place the chicken in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on high for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent moisture loss.

  • Oven: If you want to reheat your chicken in the oven, preheat it to 180°C and place the chicken in a baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is heated through.

  • Stovetop: You can also reheat your Chinese Lemon Chicken on the stovetop. Simply place the chicken in a pan and heat it over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until it's heated through.

If you want to add some seafood to your Chinese Lemon Chicken recipe, you can use shrimp or prawns. Simply sauté the shrimp or prawns and add them to the lemon sauce. This will add a delicious seafood flavour to your dish.

Nutritional Information

A plate of Chinese lemon chicken with a side of steamed vegetables, accompanied by a printed nutritional information label

When it comes to healthy Chinese lemon chicken, it is important to keep an eye on the nutritional information. The calorie count for this recipe can vary depending on the ingredients used, but on average, a serving size of four yields around 376 calories. This recipe is also gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities.

In terms of nutrition, this dish is a good source of protein, with 24g per serving. It also contains vitamin C, which is important for immune system health. However, it is important to note that this recipe does contain sugar, with 4g per serving. If you are looking to reduce your sugar intake, you may want to consider using honey as a substitute.

If you are looking to add some seafood to this dish, shrimp or scallops would be a great addition. Simply cook them separately and add them to the finished dish. This will add some extra protein and flavour to the dish, making it even more delicious.

Overall, this healthy Chinese lemon chicken recipe is a great option for those looking for a tasty and nutritious meal. With its high protein content and vitamin C, it is a great way to fuel your body and stay healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make a low-fat version of lemon chicken using chicken breasts?

If you're looking to make a low-fat version of lemon chicken, using chicken breasts is a great way to do so. Chicken breasts are naturally lower in fat than other parts of the chicken, and they're also high in protein. To make a low-fat version of lemon chicken using chicken breasts, you can bake or grill the chicken instead of frying it. You can also use a light coating of cornstarch or flour instead of a heavy batter to coat the chicken before cooking.

What's the best way to cook lemon chicken in an air fryer for a healthier option?

Air frying is a great way to cook lemon chicken for a healthier option. To do so, you can coat the chicken in a light batter or coating, then place it in the air fryer basket. Cook the chicken at 375°F for 10-12 minutes, or until it's golden brown and crispy. You can also brush the chicken with a lemon sauce before cooking to add extra flavour.

Can you suggest a simple method to prepare lemon chicken with rice that's still healthy?

To prepare a healthy lemon chicken with rice, you can use brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is higher in fibre and nutrients, and it's also lower in calories. To prepare the chicken, you can bake or grill it with a light coating of cornstarch or flour. For the sauce, you can mix together lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, and garlic. Serve the chicken over the rice and top with the sauce.

What are the typical ingredients for a homemade Chinese lemon chicken sauce?

The typical ingredients for a homemade Chinese lemon chicken sauce include lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and cornstarch. You can also add other ingredients like ginger, sesame oil, or chili flakes to add extra flavour.

Could you tell me the calorie count of a typical serving of lemon chicken?

The calorie count of a typical serving of lemon chicken can vary depending on the recipe and serving size. However, a serving of lemon chicken with rice and vegetables is typically around 400-500 calories.

What's the effect of adding lemon juice to chicken in terms of taste and tenderness?

Adding lemon juice to chicken can add a tangy flavour to the dish and help to tenderize the meat. The acidity of the lemon juice can break down the proteins in the chicken, making it more tender and juicy.