Wednesday, April 2, 2014

柠檬鸡排 Crispy Lemon Chicken Breast

This is a delicious appetizer or main dish. Moist tender chicken breast in a flaky breading and smothered in a sticky sweet and tangy sauce. This dish is a cousin to Orange Chicken which originated in Hunan province in China. As far as authentic Chinese dishes go this dish is fairly sweet and more similar to dishes found in westernized Chinese restaurants.
When we lived in Beijing we often got together with friends at a restaurant named XiaoWang Fu. The cool thing about this restaurant was, if your group was large enough, you could get a room just for you and your friend. We would all sit around a large table and dine family style. We all put our vote as to what dishes we wanted to have. This was a favorite among our friends and was rarely not seen at these gatherings. We often had to order several plates of Crispy Lemon Chicken Breast just so every one could satisfy their cravings.
I have recreated this dish in honour of XiaoWang Fu, our many wonderful memories there and friendships that span across cultures, countries and oceans. Every time we eat this in our home and you in yours we are reconnected in some way. Perhaps one day we will all meet up again at XiaoWang Fu's and enjoy this moment once more. Until then I hope this recreation brings a smile to your face and wonderful memories to fill your heart. 

1 large chicken breast
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
Breading for Chicken
1 cup custard powder (or more as needed)
1 whole egg, beaten
Lemon Sauce sauce amount is for one chicken breast
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
2 Tbsp. custard powder mixed with 2 Tbsp. water (cornstarch can be sub. custard powder just gives it a nice color)

Make the Crispy Chicken Breast
Wash the chicken breast then pat dry with a paper towel. Butterfly the chicken breast by slicing the width in half but leaving one side connected. Mix marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken breast and marinate 30 minutes.
Dip the chicken breast in custard powder or sweet potato starch. If you can't find either you can use cornstarch.Then coat it entirely in beaten egg and then again in the custard powder to coat completely.The custard powder I am using I found at my local Internationl Foods market. It is a dutch brand but any will work.
Heat oil for deep frying over medium high to high heat depending on your heat source. Deep fry 2-3 minutes on each side or until it starts to turn a golden color. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
 This is what it should look like.
Cut the chicken lengthwise and then widthwise to make little segments easy to pick up with chopsticks and/or to serve to more than one person.

Make the Lemon Sauce

Heat wok over high heat. Add sugar and water and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
 Add in the lemon juice and pinch of salt and stir until smooth.
Mix the custard powder with 2 Tbsp. water and stir in. Whisk until the sauce has thickened. Taste and season with more salt or sugar if needed or according to your own personal taste.
Pour over the Crispy Chicken Breast and serve

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