Another classic Chinese dish: lemon chicken. But wait, isn’t the chicken supposed to be deep-fried in a bucket of oil? Well, I present you with the healthy version!! Unlike other recipes, the chicken in this recipe is grilled in a frying pan rather than deep-fried in a bucket of oil. Hence the name, “Healthy lemon chicken”. Now that is a phrase you don’t hear often!
I think that we can all agree that the best part of lemon chicken is that divine, sweet and sour lemon sauce. And why stop with our healthy theme now? Let’s go all out! Instead of using sugar to make that sauce, let’s use honey!
Living on the edge!
Lemon chicken is one of those quick and easy weeknight dinners. But, there may be a little, tiny catch. That delicious chicken needs to be marinated. I would suggest at least one hour. The longer, the better. So if you are planning to make this quickly for dinner right when you get home from work, you may want to think about preparing the chicken and marinade the night before. That way, once you are home, you are ready to cook!
This recipe is very easy, so let’s break it down into 3 simple steps:
1) Marinate the chicken
Combine the chicken, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey. If you are making this gluten-free, make sure that you are using gluten-free soy sauce in your marinade!
2) Make the lemon sauce
Once the chicken is ready, start preparing your lemon sauce. Combine and whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken stock, honey, cornstarch mixture and ginger. Set aside.
Now, let’s cook! First, cook the chicken. Next, cook the sauce. Give your sauce a little taste and adjust it to suit your preferences. If you prefer it to be more sweet, add more honey. If you prefer sour, add more lemon juice or zest. And finally, add the cooked chicken to the sauce. It’s that simple! Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve over a bowl of warm rice.
Jazz it up
Bored of just chicken? Well, you are in luck. There are endless variations for this recipe. You can add any vegetables that your heart desires. My favourite to add are green peppers and sliced carrots.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- ¼ cup soy sauce (try gluten-free)
- 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- zest from 1 lemon
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 2 and ½ tbsp. honey
- 3 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- sesame seeds
- green onions, sliced
- In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey. Mix until the chicken is fully coated. Place the chicken and marinade in ziplock bag and squeeze out all the air. Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 1 hour. If you have time, let it marinate longer.
- Once the chicken is ready, start preparing your lemon sauce. In a medium bowl, combine and whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken stock, honey, cornstarch mixture and ginger. Set aside for now.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove the chicken and drain and discard the used marinade. Add the chicken to the frying pan. Season it with salt and pepper and stir to evenly coat the chicken. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until the chicken is not longer pink inside.
- Remove the cooked chicken and transfer it to a separate plate and set aside.
- Wash your frying pan and pour the lemon sauce in on medium heat. Once the sauce starts to boil and thicken, add the chicken and toss evenly to coat.
- Optional: Sprinkle some sesame seeds and sliced green onions and cook for one minute.
- Serve over a bowl of rice and garnish with additional sesame seeds.
You may also like these Chinese Dishes:
- Shanghai Style Fried Noodles
- Stir-fried Lotus Root with Green Onions
- Pan-fried Garlic Prawns with Soy Sauce