Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lemon Chicken (Ning Meng Ji)

I must confess - I've never tried or made lemon chicken before, even though this dish has been in the repertoire of many a Chinese cookbook. Since we had a ridiculous bounty of citrus this year, including lemons galore (Meyers, Lisbons, Eurekas, etc.), which I had mostly managed to harvest from the orchard the day before that epic snow storm hit us here in La Cresta on the eve of New Year's Eve, I decided to forge ahead and give this dish a shot. I used Bee Yinn Low's recipe for Lemon Chicken from her cookbook Easy Chinese Recipes as the base and then improvised from there.

1 1/2 lbs. thin cut chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for deep frying

1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. rice wine

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. plum sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. chicken powder/base

Toasted white sesame seeds
Sliced green onions
Lemon slices

1. Combine the chicken strips with the marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

3. Combine the coating ingredients together on a plate or shallow casserole dish.

4. Heat 1" of vegetable oil in a large saute pan or wok over high heat.

5. In the meantime, dip the chicken strips in the beaten egg, then coat with the flour mixture.

6. Fry the battered chicken strips for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden (in two batches, if needed, so long as they are not overcrowded in the pan). Drain on a paper towel-lined platter.

7. Pour out all but about 1-2 tsp. of oil in the pan, then add all the sauce ingredients, stirring well to combine, over medium high heat. Heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

8. Place the chicken strips on a serving plate, then drizzle over with the lemon sauce. Sprinkle the top with toasted white sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices on the side.

We harvested some Meyer lemons from the orchard so I used them for this dish. However, any lemon variety will do. 

Thin cut chicken breasts, which I cut into strips. 

Dip the chicken strips into the beaten egg.

Then coat with the flour mixture. 

Deep fry the chicken (in two batches if needed, so as not to overcrowd) for about 5 minutes or until they are lightly golden and just cooked through. 

Drain the fried chicken on paper towels. 

Drain off all but 1-2 tsp. of oil in the pan and cook the sauce ingredients 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. 

Plate the chicken strips and top with the sauce, white sesame seeds, green onion, parsley and lemon wedges. Serve with steamed white rice. 

1 comment:

  1. This looks amazing! I seriously shouldn't be looking at food blogs at night...restaurants in south delhi