Well, I have to say my least favourite Chinese dishes are the ones caked in batter and drowning in sickly, gluey, sweet sauces even though we HAVE to order them (under extreme duress and to avoid tantrums in the local restaurant!) because the kids insist. This lighter alternative was an absolute hit! Crispy chicken breast drizzled with a sharp, tangy lemon sauce and topped with fresh green onion was an emmalicious winner that even convinced the kids. Finally the tantrums may stop……… it’s only taken 18 years.
Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes $$ Medium Budget
Peanut oil for frying
4 x chicken breast fillets, trimmed of tenderloins
2 egg whites, whisked until fluffly
3 tbs of cornflour
For the Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and then finely julienned*
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 lemon, pith removed and sliced (I grated the rind and then sliced the pith off before slicing into rounds)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs of shaoxing wine*
3 tbs of oyster sauce
1 tbs of soy sauce
3 tbs of honey
1 cup of chicken stock
2 spring onions
1 cup of coriander leaves
Steamed Jasmine rice and asian greens to serve
Slice the spring onions diagonally, reserving the white part for the sauce and the green ends for garnish. Place the green ends and coriander leaves in iced water to ensure they are nice and crispy and drain before using.
Combine the ginger, garlic, honey, oyster sauce, shaoxing, soy, lemon rind, lemon juice & lemon slices and stock in a medium sized saucepan. Stir while bringing the mix to the boil to dissolve the honey. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by half. If it looks to be reducing too rapidly add a little water. Just before serving, add the white part of the spring onion.
Place a breast fillet between two pieces of cling wrap and beat lightly with a rolling pin so that the fillet is an even width, approximately 2 cm in thickness. Repeat with the remaining breast fillets.
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Heat a large, heavy based frypan and cover the base with enough oil to cover the whole pan by about 1cm. Place the cornflour on a flat plate and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Dip the chicken in the whisked egg whites and then gently pat it on the cornflour, shaking off any excess flour, repeat on the other side. Pop the chicken straight into the frypan (it should be nice and hot by now, pop a little flour in first if you like and if it sizzles straight away it is ready) and fry on each side for approximately 4-5 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and place on an oven rack, pop it on a tray and in the oven to keep warm. The sooner you serve it the crispier it will be.
When all the chicken is cooked, divide the steamed rice between four plates. Slice the chicken into 1.5cm strips and place on top of the rice. Drizzle over the sauce and top with the fresh coriander leaves and green onion. Serve immediately so the chicken is still crispy…….
* To get really thin julienne ginger slices, I run my peeler down the ginger lengthways and then slice finely with my knife. Shaoxing wine is Chinese cooking wine and is available in most Asian sections of the supermarket or your Asian grocery store. Substitute dry sherry if you can’t get it……or leave it out!