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Chinese Lemon Chicken


Do you sometimes buy ingredients without knowing exactly what you'll do with them?  I found myself with two unloved lemons in my kitchen a few weeks ago from a dessert that never materialized.  We hadn't had a stir fry in a while so I went poking around the internet to see what I could come up with and stumbled upon a really awesome blog, Appetite For China.  If you love Asian food, it's a must-visit.  I can't wait to try some of the site's other recipes, but the Lemon Chicken is definitely a winner.  As usual, I skipped the deep frying and added some veggies.  Broccoli and carrots always seem to work well, snow or sugar snap peas would also be nice. Visit the blog for pictures way prettier than mine and for the original recipe! :)


Chinese Lemon Chicken (adapted from AppetiteForChina.com)

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
peanut or canola oil

Lemon slices (optional)
White sesame seeds (optional)

Marinade:
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1 broccoli crown, cut into florets, stem pieces separate
4-5 carrots sliced thin on an angle 

 
1. Combine the soy sauce and sesame oil in a bowl. Add the chicken, toss together, and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Combine the cornstarch and white pepper. Sprinkle over the surface of the chicken, then stir into the chicken and marinade until the sauce is thick.
3. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in your wok. When oil is hot, add chicken and stir fry until cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.
4. Combine minced garlic and ginger.  Take 1/2 tsp. of the mixture and fry in 1 T. oil with the broccoli stem pieces.  After a minute, add the carrots and remaining broccoli.  Stir fry 2 minutes, then add a few tablespoons of water, turn the heat down, cover, and let the veggies steam until tender.
5. Meanwhile, heat 1 T. oil in a small sauce pan.  Add the remaining garlic and ginger and cook briefly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, chicken stock, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.  Remove from heat.
6. When the vegetables are tender, return the chicken to the wok.  Add sauce and stir to coat.  Serve with jasmine rice, and lemon slices and sesame seeds, if desired. 


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