Lemon Chicken

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Lemon Chicken | JustOneCookbook.com

When Tuttle Publishing asked me if I would like to review Bee Yinn Low’s first cookbook last month (Bee is the author of the popular Asian recipe website Rasa Malaysia.com), I was thrilled and accepted immediately because this was the cookbook that I was eying on to get my own copy.  The best part was I didn’t have to wait until it’s officially released (September 10, 2011)!

Lemon Chicken II

I had several reasons why I was looking forward to this cookbook.  First of all, I have always wanted to cook delicious Chinese food for my husband.  Most of you probably know that my husband is Chinese (precisely Taiwanese American), and I know how to cook a few “Japanized” Chinese dishes such as Mapo Tofu, green pepper pork, and eggplant with garlic sauce.  His feedback is my Chinese food is good, but they definitely do not taste authentic.  It’s like well, he’s probably right because I prepared all the Chinese dishes based on Chinese cookbook written by Japanese so flavors are for Japanese people.  I also have two young children who eat mostly Japanese food and I really want them to better understand both of our cultures.  So when I saw Bee’s book title “Easy Chinese Cooking“, I knew that was meant for me.

When I first received the cookbook, I couldn’t wait to try a new recipe and started to look for something for my family.  I flipped through the entire book, scanning for pictures and words that caught my attention.  Then I read the biography about Bee because I wanted to know more about her.  Finally I spent more time looking each and every recipe from the beginning to the end.

Needless to say I was very impressed.  Every page of Bee’s book has beautiful pictures and detailed description of the recipe.  The book also has basic cooking techniques and tips including how to prepare meat, how to stir-fry perfectly, and more.  It also covers Chinese ingredients and condiments over several pages and this will be a tremendous help to build my Chinese pantry.  This book has full information without wasting any pages, and it’s ½ inch thick!

Without a doubt, I’ll be cooking more Chinese dishes with this cookbook and will pass this down to my children.  It has really simple and basic Chinese recipes that everyone can enjoy making themselves at home.  Hopefully as I master different recipes from this cookbook we don’t need to eat out at Chinese restaurants anymore.  I’ve already tried making several recipes including Mongolian Beef, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Shanghai Fried Noodles, and today’s Lemon Chicken so far.  I came to the conclusion that Chinese food is really not that difficult especially with help from Bee.  I told my husband that with confidence and he just smiled at me.  I know he’s expecting me to cook more food from this cookbook.  Today I’m sharing one of my children’s favorite dishes from Bee’s cookbook, Lemon Chicken.  By following Bee’s simple instructions, I was able to make delicious deep fried chicken topped with the lemon sauce.  The outer layer was crunchy while the meat was tender and moist, all finished with a sweet lemony sauce which goes perfect with white rice.

Lemon Chicken | JustOneCookbook.com


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Lemon Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • 1½ tsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. sake (Chinese cooking wine or sherry)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 4 Tbsp. plum sauce
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • A pinch of salt to taste
  1. Cut the chicken breast in half (I did this so the chicken will cook faster) and marinate with all the ingredients for Marinade for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix and then sift all the ingredients for the Coating and set aside.
  3. Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan over medium to low heat. Stir the Sauce to blend well. Once the Sauce starts to bubble and boil, reduce heat and stirring occasionally until the Sauce becomes thicker. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside. Note: As the recipe suggested, I made the double amount of sauce. The recipe here is already doubled the original recipe. I also adjusted to add more corn starch and reduce the amount of water compared to the original recipe.
  4. Dip the chicken in the egg, and then dust with the Coating evenly. Shake off the excess Coating.
  5. Heat 2-3 inches of the oil in a wok to 350F for deep frying (How To Deep Fry Food). Gently drop the chicken into the oil.
  6. Deep fry the chicken to a light golden brown. Drain the excess oil by laying the chicken on a dish lined with paper towels.
  7. Cut the chicken into pieces. Drizzle the Sauce on top and serve immediately.

Please Note: The Lemon Chicken recipe is reprinted with permission by Tuttle Publishing.

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  1. Ohhhh yum! I love lemon chicken and this looks fantastic! The picture of the sauce been poured over the chicken is so mouth watering! I just had dinner, yet I would happily eat that right now!!! LOL It sounds like a great book! I know what you mean by wanting your children to eat foods if both cultures… I have the same “problem”! 😉

  2. Nami, your lemon chicken looks awesome! I have never had it and even didn’t know it was a Chinese dish! The book sounds very interesting and I am sure that with your creativeness very soon you will not only cook genuine Chinese dishes, but your dishes will taste better than the “standard” ones!
    Your husband is a lucky man to have a wife willing to cook the cuisine of his origins…

  3. YUM!! I totally understand what you mean by stepping out of the comfort zone for the family. I think you did an awesome job with the lemon chicken! and how good is that cookbook!

  4. Nami, that lemon chicken looks delicious and gorgeous! I’ve enjoyed lemon chicken multiple times in Chinese restaurants and tried recreating it at home. Thinking I could pull it off the easy (speak: lazy) way, I purchased a jar of lemon sauce from the supermarket. Big mistake. It tasted like cheap, artificial lemon hard sweets… :(

    This recipe makes me want to try it again. :)

    And what a great opportunity it is to get the chance of reviewing a cookbook! I am so happy for you and wish Bee all the best with the book! I have just checked on amazon and am suprised how low in price it is for having to be ‘imported’!


  5. You chose an interesting dish to test. Lemon chicken is great. Have you tried sweet sour pork? “His feedback is my Chinese food is good, but they definitely do not taste authentic.”. 2 solutions – he changes his taste or you learn Chinese cooking. Since you are the chef he has to change his taste:) Just kidding!

  6. This is one of my favorite dishes! We use to make lemon chicken for my sister’s birthday when I was growing up. I’ve been reading Bee’s blog for the past couple of years and I cannot think of a better person to demystify Chinese cooking for you. Gorgeous photos as always Nami!

  7. Great job reviewing the book! Bee is an amazing blogger, and I like her recipes a lot. This book is on my list of purchases. That lemon chicken looks delicious and makes me want to try it.

  8. I have my own version of lemon chicken but I doubt if Shen would approve! LOL. You just managed to make this classic dish look elegantly “Japanized”, it looks so cool, Nami. I think your next job should be as a food stylist…for me. Yes, I really want to employ your talents!

  9. That lemon chicken looks outstanding and the cookbook sounds wonderful. After spending the summer traveling through China I would love to learn how to cook some of the amazing things that we ate.

  10. Nami, thanks so much for your glowing review and glad that you liked the lemon chicken recipe. I love your comment that “This book has full information without wasting any pages, and it’s ½ inch thick!” I never thought about it that way.

    Anyway, you should make the char siu (Cantonese roast pork) for your husband next. If you want to try my mapo tofu, do tone down the heat to your liking because mine is Sichuan authentic, meaning it’s very very hot and spicy!

    Happy cooking, am glad that you’re learning to make authentic Chinese food. :)

    • You are welcome Bee. My family has been already enjoying several of your recipes and I’ll continue to make more. Okay, I’ll try char siu soon. My husband LOVES spicy food but my kids and I don’t eat spicy, so he usually adds more spice on his portion later. I can’t wait to try more dishes from your book. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

  11. Nami, other than you, Bee is actually someone I look up to when it comes to Asian cooking! I’ve tried many of her recipes via her website, though Lemon Chicken is something I don’t recall seeing. Looks like I should invest in her cook book soon!

  12. Great cookbook review and your lemon chicken makes me salivate! 😛
    I did tried cooking the lemon chicken twice with pre-packaging sauces but find them too sweet. Now I can use this recipe to impress my family! 😉
    Tks for sharing, Nami! :)

  13. Thanks for this review, Nami! I love new cookbooks (although I already have way too many), I’ll keep my eyes open for this one. The lemon chicken sounds so refreshing and flavorful. I love the sound of the marinade…I’ve never used sake…great idea!

  14. Jamie @ the unseasoned wok

    Good pick Nami!! I love lemon chicken. I love Rasa Malaysia – her style is very clean and simple and her pictures are gorgeous too!

  15. My kiddos would love this one, too! What a perfect cookbook for you to review…I can’t wait to see what else you make from it. I bet your hubby is delighted with your foray into Chinese food :) This dish is beautiful!!!!

  16. I would never think of cooking this dish at home because it is one of the signature dishes of chinese restaurants that serve mediocre chinese food, especially in the early 80s in Australia when Asian cuisine has not taken off. Although many chinese restaurants still serve this dish and it would have improved somewhat, your interpretation of this recipe looks better and I can almost guarantee it would taste better just by looking at the sauce you are pouring. Just like any recipe, it can be both bad or really great depending on how it is executed. Well done!

    • Hi Chinmayie! There is no specific category for Vegetarian recipes. Although there is Vegetable category, the recipe includes shrimp, ground meat, etc. But I think you can replace any ingredients with vegetables and still enjoy Chinese flavors. :-)

  17. Nami, everything you make is so beautiful. I hope you blog the Shanghai fried noodles and Honey walnut shrimp because I’d love to see them. Your kids are lucky, getting the best of both cultures’ cuisines.

  18. Nice shot on that lemon chicken, Nami! Hmm, I can see it being in your own cookbook someday. :) Very good review on Bee’s cookbook. I will order my copy soon. Have a good week, Nami!

    ~ ray ~

  19. I love lemon chicken and that one looks great! Thanks for the cookbook review. Next I’ll be heading to Amazon to add this one to my cart. As always, great post!

  20. This is an awesome review of one of the most anticipated cookbooks this year. You are so lucky to get it. Great recipe that you choose to review. I would love to try this.

  21. That lemon chicken looks so good, I’ll have to make it for my family this week! Thanks for the review & the intro to the lovely Rasa Malaysia site. I’m definitely getting that book :)

  22. I really want to try this recipe. I love good lemon chicken and this one looks fantastic. I hope my chicken coating will turn out like yours did- I have trouble with frying things with a coating–too cool or not enough oil or too hot…not sure.
    Your photos and writing are so wonderfulm Nami. I think you are ready to do a cookbook of your own.
    As always, I find my self wanting to change my dinner plans and make whatever you are making, so tasty.
    And good job with making sure your kids know food and culture from both sides. That is great for them!

    • Hi Denise! If you are not comfortable with deep frying, you can always try shallow deep frying with 1/4-1/2 inch oil in frying pan. Maybe cut chicken into smaller pieces so it’s faster to cook. Also keeping the thermometer around might be a good idea because like you said, you don’t want oil temp to be too low or high. Having the right temp is the key for success. Thanks Denise about cookbook, but this website is really my just 1 cookbook that I’ve been using. 😉

  23. I am a huge fan of lemon & this recipe seems just the kind I would love.Looks so delicious.I hope to see chinese recipes on your blog now :) Bee’s always been an inspiration & I would love to check out her cookbook now.

  24. I think it’s really cool how you want to learn how to cook it for your children to learn both culture’s foods :) Have you been to Shen Hua on College Ave. in Berkeley? I’ve had there lemon chicken and liked it but I’m guessing that it’s not ‘authentic’. Yours looks so good, I want to try to make this

  25. WOW, Nami that looks spectacular. I order lemon chicken every time I eat at a Chinese restaurant. It’s definitely my favorite dish. Your homemade version looks much better than anything I’ve ever ordered at a restaurant though! That first photo is perfect.

  26. Hi Nami-Just clicked over from Malou’s blog…wow! What lovely lemon chicken:DDD
    Love the presentation, and the exquisite photos…the book looks amazing with all kinds of different delicious recipes!
    Such a wonderful promotion that you did for this great cookbook! I must look into it…thanks for sharing!

  27. Oh, I just love lemon chicken and this recipe looks and sounds delicious Nami! The plum sauce combined with the lemon must give it a perfect zing – I’m smacking my lips as I type!! So yummy…

  28. I love the blog Rasa Malaysia. It makes me soo soo nostalgic. I’m like you; I cook Chinese food from time to time but it’s not authentic. For me, it’s always Koreanified or Westernized. I would love to check this cookbook out!

  29. It’s finally out! Thank you for reviewing and trying the recipe, Nami. This looks amazing and light yet flavorful. I remember the Rasa Malaysia cookbook was coming out but didn’t know it was ready this soon. I can’t wait to pick up a copy!

  30. Nami this chicken looks divine :) Love it and can’t wait to try it! I’ll need to check out this cookbook it looks like it has so many delicious recipes. Great review BTW :)

  31. Thank you for introducing me to Bee’s cookbook. I will definitely check it out.

    This lemon chicken looks fantastic! I always have a hard time finding sake in my markets, though. I need to make more of an effort to find it because so many recipes I’m interested in lately call for it.

    Have a great week, Nami! 😉

  32. Wowowow Nami you are very lucky to be one of those picked to review Bee’s wonderful cookbook. There are indeed a lot of mouthwatering recipes to try on and I am sure you will love them as much as we all do :) Love this lemon chicken too!!!!!

  33. This cookbook looks really good! I will have to get it. You did a really nice reviewing it, Nami! I didn’t realize that Lemon Chicken was Chinese and I’m sure there aren’t many things that Shen doesn’t like that you make;o)

  34. Great review and I’m sure your hubby is thrilled. I know you’re going to nail every recipe you try. You did with the Lemon Chicken, what a nice change of pace for chicken.

  35. I’m glad u post this Nami!
    I do loves lemon chicken!
    Hoping to make this as soon as I find the lemon ( out of stock on my fridge )
    Great photo – good looking lemon chicken & great idea for the cookbook :)
    Looking to see ur chinese recipe again! 😉

  36. Huh. I was wondering why there was no Lemon Chicken recipe on Bee’s site, seeing as it’s such a popular Chinese restaurant dish.

    Now I know why: she was saving it for the cookbook!

    Glad you posted it, ’cause I want to try making this; our own attempt had less than stellar results.

    • For this recipe, you can avoid Sake and its completely fine. For other recipes it depends on each recipe. It may not be the same result but you can replace mirin with sugar and omit sake. Thanks.

  37. Laura

    I am having trouble finding plum sauce. The only plum stuff I found was 梅かつおつゆand I don’t think that’s what you meant? Is there anything I can substitute for it? I live in Japan, so any Japanese ingredients?

    • Hi Laura! The plum sauce is a Chinese condiment and it can be found in Chinese grocery store, and I’m not sure how we can substitute. It’s sweet, with plum taste, and I am not sure if we have something like that in Japan… it’s like sweet ume jam. It thickens the sauce so it’s similar to honey or marmalade texture, but it has the plum flavor. Hope you can find it in Chinnese/International market. :)