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As one of the popular take-out dishes, crispy lemon chicken is breaded, then fried, and coated with a glossy sauce; it tastes lemony, savory, and tangy. Usually, restaurants will deep fry the chicken. However, cooking it at home, you can try shallow fry with less oil and use my trick to get the same crispy result.
To marinate the chicken
1 lb (450g) of chicken breast or boneless chicken thigh
1 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tsp of ginger
black pepper to taste (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/black-peppercorns)
1.5 tsp of soy sauce (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/light-soy-sauce)
1.5 tsp of Chinese cooking wine
For the sauce
2 tbsp of Honey (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/unfiltered-honey)
4 tbsp of brown sugar (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/brown-sugar)
3.5 tbsp of soy sauce (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/light-soy-sauce)
2 tbsp of sambal chili sauce (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/sambal-chili-sauce)
3 tbsp of water + 1 tbsp of cornstarch
3.5 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of Lemon zest
2/3 cup of cornstarch (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/cornstarch)
2/3 cup of all-purpose flour (Amazon Link – https://geni.us/all-purpose-flour)
1 cup of oil to shallow fry
Diced scallion as garnish
Cut the boneless chicken breast or thigh into big strips, then slice into bite-size pieces.
Marinate the chicken with minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, and black pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and rest it for 20 minutes.
While waiting, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. This sauce is versatile; it works great with other proteins such as shrimp, pork, and beef.
Tip No 1 for meal prepping: This amount is enough to pair with 1 lb of meat. You can make multiple batches and keep them in the freezer for up to six months. The sauce will not solidify in the freezer due to the high sugar and salt content, so you can use it anytime without defrosting.
The next step is to bread the chicken. Combine 2/3 cups of cornstarch and 2/3 cups of all-purpose in a large zip lock bag, then shake well. Cornstarch is the key to making the chicken crispy. The breading will come out doughy if you use 100% all-purpose flour.
Add the marinated chicken into the bag and shake until well-coated. Use a sieve to get rid of the excess flour and transfer the chicken into a bowl.
Crack one egg into the chicken and mix thoroughly. Put the chicken back into the bag and shake to coat it twice because a thicker breading will protect the breast meat from drying out.
Use a sieve to get rid of the excess flour again. Let the chicken rest on the side for 15 minutes so the flour can have enough time to bond together, and it will fall off less during the frying.
Meanwhile, heat 2/3 cups of oil to 400 F. Shallow frying uses less oil than deep-frying. Since the food is only partly submerged, it must be flipped over partway through the cooking process. The bigger the item is, the lower the frying temperature should be. These chicken bites are small, so we start with 400 F.
Fry the chicken in two batches over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes on each side or until both sides are golden brown. Before you fry the second batch, remove the flour crumbs from the oil using a fine sieve.
Tip No.2 for meal prepping – freeze the chicken after frying for 5-6 months. Whenever you want to eat them again, heat them in an air fryer (400 F for 8-10 minutes), or an oven ( 450 F for 12-14 minutes). Then coat it with the sauce, and you have your quick delicious dinner ready.
Remove the chicken to the side and pour out most of the oil from the wok. Then pour in the sauce and stir over medium heat for a few minutes or until it thickens.
Introduce the chicken to the wok with 1.5 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds. Toss everything until the chicken is coated with the sauce, and serve with white rice. Make sure everybody is ready to eat and do the last step to combine the chicken with the sauce. The longer you let it sit before serving, the less crispy it will be.