Sunday, September 12, 2010
Over the years I've always enjoyed cooking a variety of ethnic dishes. One of my favorites is Chinese Food.
I got the urge to do some more Chinese cooking and decided to go to a Restaurant Sales Store and buy an authentic Wok. And did so.
First two dishes were fried rice and a lemon chicken dish. I'm so glad I did, they were delicious. I love fried rice because of the wide variety of items you can add to it. Not all combinations work, but this one did. That being said, see my note at the bottom of this post.
One key to the lemon chicken was to cut the chicken into pieces and let it marinade in soy sauce and sesame oil for 24 hours. The marinade completely saturated the chicken, and when cooked and eaten, the chicken was bursting with that delicious taste combination. Lastly, the lemon sauce had that perfect balance of lightly lemony taste, and a not overly thick sauce. (Adapted from Appetite for China)
You can make these dishes in a large cast iron skillet as I have for years, but it's easier, and more fun with a wok.
Ingredients and Method:
2 skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup oil (I use Canola or Peanut)
Sesame seeds for garnish
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon yields 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
chopped green onion for garnish
Rinse and dry chicken breasts and cut into 1 inch cubes. Place in bowl and add soy sauce and sesame oil, cover and marinate for at least 8 hours and preferable 24 hours. Stir every few hours to ensure all pieces are marinated evenly.
Blend cornstarch and pepper in a bowl, and dredge chicken directly from the marinade in the cornstarch. Cover completely and place on plate. Continue with remaining chicken.
Add oil to wok or large sauce pan and heat to 360 degrees. Add chicken to oil (8 - 10 pieces at a time, don't crowd) and fry 2 1/2 minutes, turn the chicken over, and fry an additional 2 1/2 minutes. Remove chicken and let drain on paper towels. Let oil return to 360 degrees before cooking additional chicken.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok or pan, add ginger and garlic and sauté briefly, approximately 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, chicken stock and sugar. Heat on medium until sugar is dissolved and then add corn starch and water. Stir until sauce thickens slightly.
Place chicken on plate and drizzle with lemon sauce. Sprinkle with sliced scallions. Serve with white rice.
(Note on rice. I served it with delicious fried rice, but as my dinner guest commented, the flavors in the fried rice competed with the subtle lemon taste of the chicken, and I agree, so I suggest white rice for that reason)