Chicken · Lemons · When Bill Cooks

Cantonese Lemon Chicken


From Better Homes and Garden’s Wok Cuisine, Oriental to American, page 103.

Yes, Better Homes and Gardens.  Oh, don’t laugh at me.  There are a lot of good recipes, and the layout and photos are really nice, too.  So be nice.

Bill wanted to make something the kids would like, since they’re not always up for spicy stuff.  This sounded very kid-friendly and yummy, so that’s what he went with. 

I made the batter and did the frying for him.  I like to feel useful in the kitchen now and then.

Here’s the ingredients and the recipe.  We served it with steamed jasmine rice.

Cantonese Lemon Chicken

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (12 oz total)

Cooking oil or shortening for deep-fat frying (I used oil)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 ounces rice sticks (rice noodles) or 3 cups hot cooked rice (we made rice)

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons cornstarch

3 green onions, cut into thin slivers

1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce

Lemon slices

Carrot cutout (optional – we opted not to do this)

Lemon thyme (optional) (we opted in – we have plenty in the garden)

Edible flowers (optional) (the little pink/purple flowers on the lemon thyme are edible, so we counted them as our edible flowers)



Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Cut into 1-inch pieces; set aside.  In a wok or 3-quart saucepan heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of cooking oil or shortening to 365F.

For batter, combine flour, the 1/4 cup cornstarch, and salt.  Add the water and the 2 tablespoons cooking oil.  Using a rotary beater or wire whisk, beat till smooth.  (If batter is too thick, stir in 1 tablespoon of additional water.)  Dip chicken into the batter, swirling to coat.  Allow excess batter to drip off.  Fry chicken, a few pieces at a time, in hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes or till golden brown and chicken is no longer pink, turning once.  Using a wire strainer or slotted spoon, remove chicken from oil.  Drain on a wok rack or on paper towels.  Keep warm in a 300F oven while frying remaining chicken.


Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook rice sticks (if using) in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes or just till tender.  Drain and keep warm.  For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the chicken broth, sugar, lemon juice, and the 4 teaspoons cornstarch.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Add the slivered onions, stirring gently to coat.

On 4 dinner plates (Bill used one large platter instead) arrange the chicken over hot cooked rice sticks or rice (we served the rice in a separate bowl, actually) and shredded lettuce. 


Drizzle with sauce.  Garnish with lemon slices and, if desired, carrot cutout, lemon thyme, and edible flowers.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.


The kids liked it, though Alex has told me this morning that he’d like it a little less lemony.  Bill and I had some, too.  Very tasty. 

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