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Lemon Chicken | 檸檬雞

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

When there is orange chicken, there will be lemon chicken as well. The origin of this dish is pretty murky:

Some declared it was originally from Italy that has been introduced to the Chinese while trading back in the day. Some said it is an abomination from Sweet & Sour Chicken. Some claimed it is actually from Hong Kong and has become a takeout staple.

Whatever is the origins, this is my version of lemon chicken. Chicken breast is usually used, but I prefer chicken thigh as breast tends to dry out pretty fast during frying process. You can of cos use chicken breast if desired. And instead of cooking and coating the chicken with the sauce, I prefer to just drizzle over the fried chicken.

This recipe contains a couple of secret ingredients. Well, not so secret now as I am sharing with you lovely people. Honey and my homemade lemon marmalade. If you don't wanna make your own lemon marmalade, you can use plum sauce (preferably Lee Kum Kee's). In closing, I really hope you will give my version of lemon chicken a try.



(Serve 2)

  • Lemon Sauce:

  • Chicken Stock Homemade, 50g

  • Fresh Lemon Juice, 1 Lemon

  • Fresh Lemon Zest, 1 Lemon + More For Serving

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Pure Honey, 2 TBSP Adjust To Preference

  • Custard Powder, 1/2 TSP

  • Sesame Oil, 2 TBSP

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 5 Cloves

  • Ginger Finely Minced, 1"

  • Red Chilies Deseeded Finely Sliced, 2 Adjust To Preference

  • Green Onion White Parts Finely Sliced, A Handful

  • ShaoXing / HuaTiao / Sherry Wine, 2 TBSP

  • Slurry, 1 TBSP Corn Starch + 1 TBSP Water

  • Lemon Marmalade Homemade / Plum Sauce Preferably Lee Kum Kee's, 2 TBSP

  • Chicken:

  • Chicken Thigh Boneless, 2 Preferably With Skin On

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Mushroom Powder, Pinch

  • Egg Lightly Beaten, 1

  • Potato Starch

  • Unbleached All Purpose Flour

  • Sesame Oil, 2 TBSP

  • ShaoXing / HuaTiao / Sherry Wine, 2 TBSP

  • Light Soy Sauce, 2 TBSP

  • Grapeseed / Sunflower / Canola / Peanut Oil, For Frying

  • Romaine Lettuce, For Serving

  • Fresh Coriander Coarsely Sliced, For Serving



  • Dutch Oven / Wok

  • Sauce Pot



  1. Please visit my "How To Make Chicken Stock" page for the recipe.

  2. Please visit my "Lemon Marmalade" page for the recipe.

  3. Prepare the lemon sauce.

  4. Mix chicken stock, lemon zest, juice, salt, honey and custard powder in a large until well combined.

  5. In a sauce pot over medium heat, add sesame oil.

  6. Once the hot is heated up, add in garlic, ginger, chilies and green onions.

  7. Saute until aromatic.

  8. Deglaze with ShaoXing wine and add in the stock mixture.

  9. Stir to combine well.

  10. Add in the slurry (combine corn starch and water until smooth) and mix until thickened.

  11. Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt.

  12. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl.

  13. Immediately, mix in the lemon marmalade until well combined.

  14. Set aside until ready to use.

  15. Prepare the chicken.

  16. Season the chicken well with salt, pepper and mushroom powder.

  17. Transfer into a large bowl.

  18. *Use 2 separate bowls if your bowl is too small to hold 2 chicken thighs without over lapping.*

  19. Add in the beaten egg and massage into the chicken.

  20. Keep mixing and massaging until the chicken has absorbs the egg.

  21. Add in potato starch and flour with a ratio of 1:1. I used 1 TBSP each.

  22. Mix until you have a sticky mess without any visible starch or flour.

  23. Followed by sesame oil, ShaoXing wine and soy sauce.

  24. Heat up 3 to 4" of oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.

  25. *The following steps required a large space for basting. If you have a wok, use it. If not, a large dutch oven would be fine.

  26. To check if the temperature of the oil is ready, place a wooden chopstick into the oil.

  27. If bubbles start to form, the temperature is ready for frying.*

  28. Gently drop the chicken thigh into the oil, skin side down away from you.

  29. Deep fried until lightly golden brown, flipping half way thru'.

  30. Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  31. Repeat the steps for the remaining chicken thigh.

  32. Set aside and rest for 5 mins.

  33. Turn the heat up to high.

  34. Place the chicken thigh onto a spider or a large slotted spoon, skin side up.

  35. Carefully baste the chicken thigh with the hot oil until golden brown.

  36. Carefully flip the chicken thigh and continue basting until the other side is golden brown as well.

  37. Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  38. Repeat the steps for the remaining chicken thigh.

  39. Place some lettuce onto serving plates.

  40. Followed by the fried chicken thigh.

  41. Drizzle the lemon sauce over the top.

  42. Garnish with some coriander and lemon zest.

  43. Serve immediately.

Basting helps to keep the chicken thigh extra succulent...



Recipe Video:

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