I had a craving for lemon and I have lots of lemons so I made honey lemon chicken, similar to the one you find in the Chinese restaurant, although, I didn’t add any yellow food coloring, like they do. By the way, the batter is very light, it’s surprising how little you need, to get a nice brown coating, once fried.
Update: My niece Catriona was staying for the night and chose this meal for dinner, so we updated the ingredients and photos from the past post. We feel the flavor has a more tangy sweetness, the previous recipe was a little bland.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
2.5 pounds of chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce- China Lily brand is my favorite
oil for frying- I used vegetable oil- the amount depends on how big your pot is- you need to have about 1 inch of oil in your pot.
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup honey- add more to your taste if necessary
2/3 cup chicken broth-low sodium if possible
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons of water
1/3 cup lemon juice-add more to your taste if necessary
2 slices of lemon peeled and pitted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes-optional if you want some heat in your sauce.
1. Place cut chicken in a bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. To make the batter, beat 2 eggs with 1/2 cup cornstarch, black pepper and baking powder. Mix well as to take out all the lumps- use a whisk. You will have a thin batter.
3. Take the marinated chicken, put in a medium sized bowl(if it’s not already in a bowl) and pour the batter on top, mixing and coating all the chicken pieces well.
4. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a high sided, large, heavy pot. You will need the oil to be around 350 degrees F, use a thermometer if you have or just take a little batter and drop it in the oil, if it starts sizzling it’s ready for cooking. Take pieces of batter coated chicken breast pieces and place them in the hot oil, probably about a dozen at a time. Please be careful not to splash yourself. Use a perforated spoon to move the chicken pieces around in the oil, so that they are browned well all over, 6-8 minutes. They shouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Now remove the cooked pieces and put them on a papertowel lined cookie sheet and place in a 300 degree F oven to keep warm. Keep adding the chicken pieces to the hot oil and cooking 1 dozen at a time until you are finished. Place them all on the cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm and crisp until you make the sauce.
5. Now, make the lemon sauce. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch and water together well, add the honey to the cornstarch mixture, mixing in well. In a small pot add the chicken broth, lemon juice and salt. Add the honey mixture to the pot. Mix together very well, now add lemon slices and slowly bring to a simmer(bubbling a little) on the stove. The mixture will be cloudy at first, but once it’s cooked it will be clear, thickened and slightly yellow from the lemon juice. You will need to let it simmer for about 5 minutes, mix frequently while it’s simmering. Add more honey or lemon juice if needed.
6. Now take the cooked chicken pieces out of the oven and put into a serving bowl, immediately add the hot lemon sauce(after removing the 2 lemon slices), mix and serve. Don’t mix the sauce with the chicken until you are ready to eat, otherwise the battered chicken pieces might get a little soggy. I made some rice and we had broccoli in the refrigerator so that’s what I served with the lemon chicken.