Classic Lemon Chicken: Because Chinese New Year is Just Around the Corner

March 20, 2019

Despite the inordinate amount of times well-meaning but confused white people have said “nǐ hǎo” to me when I travel overseas, I actually have as much claim to Chinese heritage as your average 7/11 siopao (which is to say, none at all). The konnichiwas and konbanwas, though, I’m cool with.  Mostly, since I do have a pint or two of sake running through my veins.

Lemon Chicken1

Lemon Chicken, just like fortune cookies and me, is yet another thing that some westerners think is Chinese, but really isn’t (like at all). Though, you can find it on the menu of almost every place that serves Chinese food, every place outside of actual China I mean, it’s not really part of their ancient gastronomic culture. There really aren’t any centuries old versions of the recipe passed down from the time of the Emperors. Still, even if Lemon Chicken isn’t truly traditional Chinese cuisine, what it is though, is pretty damn delicious.

Lemon Chicken4

Our recipe uses Bounty Fresh chicken for meat that’s fresh and delicious, but at a price that everyone can afford. Fried to perfection, the chicken’s salty flavor is complemented by the sweet-sour tang of the lemon sauce. It cuts through the richness of the fried meat excellently, leaving you licking your fingers clean of the sticky but yummy yellow stuff.

Lemon Chicken3

This is a dish that’s best enjoyed with mountains of steaming, perfectly cooked, white rice. It’d be a travesty to eat without it. Who cares if it makes you break your 2014 resolution to diet? It doesn’t really count. With January 1st having just gone by ten days ago, and Chinese New Year only a couple of weeks away, it’s perfectly fine to consider your Lemon Chicken feast still part of your holiday binge. Don’t worry, we won’t tell if you don’t.

Lemon Chicken2 copy

Classic Lemon Chicken

Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for the Chicken

  • 500 g Bounty Fresh chicken breast fillet, cut into chunks
  • Oil for frying

Ingredients for the Marinade

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 pc egg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Ingredients for the Lemon Sauce

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Yellow food coloring for the lemon sauce (optional)


  1. Marinate the Bounty Fresh chicken and the other ingredients for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine all ingredients for lemon sauce. Whisk continuously until the liquid boils.
  3. Allow to boil for 1 minute before turning off the fire. Set the sauce aside to cool.
  4. Deep fry marinated chicken pieces for 3-4 minutes or until it’s cooked thoroughly and has turned a light golden brown. Drain the chicken pieces on paper towels.
  5. In another pan, heat some of the lemon sauce on medium heat and toss in the fried chicken. Coat the meat well and allow the sauce to slightly thicken some more.
  6. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
Lars Roxas Lars Roxas

Laurence is a twenty-something turtle pretending to be a writer. In the past, he has worked as a warehouse clerk, Apple genius, martial arts instructor, copywriter, editor, english teacher, and personal trainer. He can’t swim or ride a bike, but he's done Judo on three continents. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Occasionally, his stories appear in real actual books. He makes awesome waffles.

5 comments in this post SHOW

5 responses to “Classic Lemon Chicken: Because Chinese New Year is Just Around the Corner”

  1. Stephen Veloso Lao says:

    Well in my opinion

    Lemon rind helps a lot with the flavor when you add it to the sauce

    It would also be better to dredge the chicken bits in a kamote flour cornstarch mix before deep frying. 😀

  2. Hershey says:

    i like the background, we have the same strainer at home, pretty old school chinese lol

  3. rino19ny says:

    if there is soy sauce already, be careful with adding salt as soy sauce is already salty.

    • Laurice says:

      Tried this recipe without the soy sauce as the taste was enough for me with just the salt. This is the closest hack to the lemon chicken that I did. thanks for the recipe!

  4. […] saw this recipe on Pepper.ph (http://www.pepper.ph/classic-lemon-chicken/), which is apt for the upcoming Chinese New Year.  The recipe makes use of chicken breast, which […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep on