Chinese-style Lemon Chicken

Chinese-style Lemon Chicken

Sometimes when the hubby goes out, I like to lock myself (figuratively!) in the kitchen with a bottle of wine, a good TV show, and putter away at making something awesome. It’s one of my favourite “me time” activities.

The hubby has recently gone vegetarian, so recently when I had some “me time,” I decided to indulge in something meaty and deep fried. Enter Appetite for China’s delicious lemon chicken recipe! I’ve made it a few times and am never disappointed — it takes a bit of time but is really a treat.

I’ve slightly adapted the recipe based on what I had available and my own tastebuds. Instead of deep frying in a wok, I shallow fry with as little peanut oil as I can get away with — but still, be prepared to feel like you need to go for a run the next day!

Chinese-style Lemon Chicken

Adapted from Appetite for China’s Lemon Chicken

For the chicken:

  • 1 kg free range chicken thigh fillets, skinless and boneless
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp each sesame oil and ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • twist of black pepper
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • about 1/2 cup peanut oil or canola oil

Lemon sauce:

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced extremely fine
  • 1.5 cm piece of ginger, minced extremely fine
  • 2 tbsp olive or other mild-flavoured oil
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 tsp corn starch
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp hot sauce and ketchup (tomato sauce)

Slice chicken into two-bite strips and marinate in the soy sauce, sesame oil, ketchup, hot sauce, and black pepper. Let rest at least 20 minutes or in the fridge for longer.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine minced garlic and ginger with oil, lemon rind and juice, sugar, soy sauce, hot sauce, and ketchup. Whisk until well combined over low heat. When mixture just starts steaming, add 1 tsp of corn starch at a time and whisk until there are no more lumps. You want this to be thick enough to easily coat the chicken. Leave on low heat.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, pre-heat a non-stick frying pan with about 1/8 cup peanut or canola oil to medium heat. Then, lightly dredge the marinated chicken pieces through the corn flour and pop them into the frying pan. Cook chicken in batches, and only flour them right before they go into the pan. Some of the corn flour might come off of the chicken and get into the oil, so you may want to wipe down your pan in between batches. Cook chicken until golden. Keep chicken warm in the oven while you do the next batch.


I served my chicken with wild rice and steamed broccoli. Sprinkle the chicken with toasted sesame seeds just before serving and enjoy!


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