Margaret Xu’s forgotten lemon chicken
( SERVES 4 )
With this recipe, Hong Kong-based chef Margaret Xu, who has a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, reminded us that authentic lemon chicken is a far cry from the one found on local Chinese takeaway menus.
- Trim tendons and fat from the chicken. Cut little grooves about 2mm deep into the breasts in a criss-cross pattern on both sides.
- Place the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or pestle to tenderise and flatten. Cut each fillet in half and place in a large bowl with the tablespoon of water and leave for 20 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of egg white and soy sauce and mix thoroughly. Add the beaten egg, then lift the fillets out and coat evenly with cornflour. Heat 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil in a large heavy frying pan to a medium heat.
- Add the chicken, lower the heat and fry on one side until golden – about 5 minutes. Add the remaining oil to the pan, flip the chicken over and fry until cooked and golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Using the same oil in the pan, slowly fry the shallots until translucent.
- Add the stock and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Add salt, pepper and honey.
- Add the water and cornflour mixture, stirring until thickened. Return the chicken to the pan to reheat.
- Turn off the heat and finish with the lemon zest and sesame oil.