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Test Kitchen: Pucker up for lemon chicken

By Jessica Rodrigo
Jan. 8, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 7, 2014 at 7:08 p.m.

Lemon chicken served with vegetable fried rice is easy to make at home with fresh lemons. The yellow food dye is optional, of course, but adding it makes it look like the plates served at restaurants like Beijing Garden and Dragon Palace.



• 2 chicken breasts

• Salt and ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs

• 1 tbsp. cornstarch

• 1/4 cup cooking oil, for frying


• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

• 1/2-3/4 cup water

• 2 tbsp cup granulated sugar

• 1 tbsp. cornstarch

• A few drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound thin using a meat tenderizer, a bottle of wine or a cup with a wide bottom. Once pounded out, season with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch and panko crumbs. Coat chicken evenly with crumbs and set aside. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat. Cook on each side about three to four minutes until lightly browned. Cut into strips or leave whole. Serve covered in lemon sauce or serve with sauce on the side.

For the sauce, combine lemon juice, water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. In a small ramekin, mix the cornstarch with a little bit of water to create a slurry. Add the slurry to the mixture and keep over lower heat. Food color can be added before serving. Adjust to taste and serve hot.

Can't make it? Go get it

Beijing Garden

• ADDRESS: 113 S. Main St., Victoria

• PHONE: 361-575-1501

• WHEN: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday-Friday

Every one has a go-to at Chinese restaurants.

Mine is the lemon chicken, unless I am hankering for some noodles - then, I go with lo mein. Luke, a creature of habit, usually shoots for the General Tso's. And, of course, we do a few crab rangoons or egg rolls, too. A recipe for the crab rangoons is on my to-do list, so stay tuned.

I have a ton of lemons from Luke's mom's tree to burn through before they go bad, so I thought I would make cook my own version of lemon chicken.

But I have to say that I love the lemon chicken version served up at either Beijing Garden or Dragon Palace.

Instead of serving it as chunks of chicken battered and deep fried, they do a flattened piece of chicken, breaded and lightly fried then served with a sauce that is sweet and sour.

The best part is that they are cooked separately, which leaves the chicken crunchy, adding more texture to the dish.

In my trial runs, some of the batches I cooked up tasted just like lemonade, so be sure to adjust the flavor to what you like. Add some red chili flakes if you want it spicy and see where it goes from there.

What are you doing with all your lemons? Send a message to jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet @EatsEatsEats. I'm always hungry.



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