Citizens, this recipe for lemon chicken is near and dear to my heart, as it was one of the first “exotic” recipes I ever attempted as a young teenager!
It was 35 years ago and I was reading my mother’s ancient copy of the New York Times International Cookbook for kicks (to my knowledge it had never been used once since being purchased back in 1973 when it first came out).
In the China section, this recipe suddenly jumped out at me – it looked like something I’d seriously like to eat (lemon + chicken + fried = good to teenaged tastebuds!).
As noted in that very copy of The New York Times International Cookbook, still in my collection to this very day:
One of the most interesting of Chinese dishes is a creation of highly skilled chef Lee Lum. Called simply Lemon Chicken, it consists of boneless chicken breast, coated with water chestnut powder, crisply fried, and served over crisp vegetables in a sweet and pungent lemon sauce whose extraordinary flavor comes from the ounce of lemon extract that is added at the last moment. The recipe is given here for home cooks who would like to duplicate Lee Lum’s triumph.
Citizens – the original recipe was nothing like the hideously gelatinous, canary yellow blasphemy we know and despise from bad Chinese buffets! It is light, crispy and truly sweet/sour/sharp in flavor – a veritable razor of flavor across the palate!
My updated version of the classic uses Chinese rose liquor, Shaoxing rice wine, garlic and ginger to add further complexity to this worthy recipe – try it and know the true pinnacle of what this dish really entails! 🙂 I would personally enjoy this with some delicious hot and sour soup for flavor reciprocity.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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