Since The Artist and I went gluten-free and he had to take soy out of his diet too, I have really missed Asian food. One way around that is to make some of my favorite dishes at home using alternate seasonings and today’s Tangy and Sweet Lemon Chicken was at the top of my hit list!
Unlike most recipes for lemon chicken, this one is naturally soy-free. It uses chicken stock for the savory component in the sauce instead of soy sauce, making me very happy camper! It also happens to be dairy-free making it a great option for gatherings.
Even though this recipe has fried chicken pieces in it, they are dredged in a cornstarch batter. Naturally gluten free! Very simple seasoning o the chicken with the burst of fresh lemon flavor from the sauce makes every bite perfect.
The lemons I used were very tart so I added more brown sugar to balance the sauce. This made it a darker color but got it to the flavor I was looking for. If you are using Meyer lemons, you probably won’t need as much sweetener. Taste your sauce often and adjust the ingredients until you get the flavor you love. This sauce will thicken as it cools, so feel free to whisk in some warm water if needed, especially if you make it ahead and rewarm it.
The chicken is best served straight from the oil when it is hot and crispy. You can cook enough for one meal and serve it, then cook a second batch the next day, rewarming the lemon sauce for the second serving. You’ll thank me when you bite into the hot, crunchy chicken dripping with luscious lemon sauce!
I love this Tangy and Sweet Lemon Chicken and it made a lovely meal for The Artist and me and would be a great way to say thank you to the dads in your life this weekend. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
This recipe is naturally gluten-free. If you cannot have corn products, you can use potato starch or tapioca starch instead.
- Lemon Sauce
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger, or more if desired
- Pinch salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Dash black pepper
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp water
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, or about 10 to 12 boneless chicken thighs, cut in chunks or short strips
- 2 cups cooking oil, plus more if needed
- Cooked rice
- Sliced green onions
- Sesame seeds
- Lemon slices or wedges
- Prepare the Sauce: Combine the water, stock, lemon juice, brown sugar, honey, ginger, and salt in a small saucepan. Whisk until the sugar and honey are dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, about 5 minutes until sauce boils and the sauce is thick and smooth. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more lemon juice for tartness, brown sugar or honey for sweetness, and ginger for spice. Keep warm over low heat stirring regularly.
- Make the Batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the water until blended. Add the yolk mixture to the cornstarch and whisk to make a smooth batter.
- Cook the Chicken: Heat the oil in a large wok or deep skillet to about 350°F to 375°F. Dip the chicken into the batter, being sure each piece is well-coated. Working with no more than 6 to 10 pieces at a time (depending on the size of your pan - don't crowd them too much), transfer to the wok and cook in the hot oil until golden brown, turning several times. Remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer> and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- To Serve: Line a platter with cooked rice and top with the cooked chicken pieces. Drizzle with the sauce, and sprinkle with the onions and sesame seeds. Garnish the dish with lemon. Pass additional sauce at the table.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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