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)!
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.
- 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. cooking 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
- 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.
- Mix and then sift all the ingredients for the Coating and set aside.
- 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.
- Dip the chicken in the egg, and then dust with the Coating evenly. Shake off the excess Coating.
- 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.
- Deep fry the chicken to a light golden brown. Drain the excess oil by laying the chicken on a dish lined with paper towels.
- 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.