This is my pick for a perfect birthday dinner! I have many memories of wonderful Chinese feasts at Leann Chin's restaurant in Minneapolis, and we LOVED the Lemon Chicken with Chinese Lemon Sauce the most! An extremely popular place because of the incredibly fresh and flavorful Chinese food - nothing at all like takeout, they had a wonderful dinner buffet that was to die for! This was the restaurant I requested for many a birthday celebration or special event. When it closed, it was a sad day indeed!
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Leeann Chin when she first opened her original restaurant and many times throughout the years, and she was a charming and delightful woman who would jet all over the country to cook Chinese feasts for her clients. She created a Chinese Cookbook for Betty Crocker, and her restaurants were bought out by General Mills. There are now Leeann Chin fast-food restaurants located throughout the Twin Cities, but the recipes (and food) are not the same...
This is my favorite take on my favorite recipe of hers!
I'm sharing two variations of this recipe with you - the traditional Original Breaded version, and a much crunchier Crispy Breading recipe. My little ones LOVE the crispy version!
This Chinese Lemon Sauce absolutely makes the recipe, but it is also perfect as a dipping sauce for egg rolls, crab Rangoon, or drizzled on top of rice.
I'm not going to lie - this is a labor-intensive dinner to make, but perfect when you have extra hands around that want to help! You can also prepare the majority of this dish ahead of time and put it together pretty quickly at the last minute.
The chicken is so tender, moist and flavorful, and the lemon sauce is absolute perfection.
Hope that you enjoy my birthday dinner as much as we do!
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 lemon, thinly sliced (for garnish)
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup apricot preserves
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Asian Sweet Chili Sauce
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs (room temperature)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
BREADING: (two variations – extra crispy or traditional breading)
EXTRA CRISPY BREADING:
3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup reserved marinade/batter
¼ cup cornstarch
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
HOW I MAKE THIS:
DO AHEAD DIRECTIONS: After frying chicken 3 minutes, cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours. Prepare sauce, cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours. Just before serving, prepare lemon slices. Heat vegetable oil (1-1/2 inches) to 375 degrees. Fry chicken all at one time until hot, turning once, 2 minutes each side. Cut each piece crosswise into 5 or 6 pieces. Garnish with lemon slices and reheated Lemon Sauce.
SERVINGS: 4-6 servings
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