Lemon Chicken

What you need

Boneless skinless chicken breasts - 150 gm

Peanut (groundnut) oil - 2 tbsp

Garlic - chopped - 2 tsp

Ginger - chopped - 2 tsp

Orange juice - 4 tbsp

Lemon juice (lemon, not lime) - 2 tbsp

Orange rind (zest) - 2 tsp

Lemon rind - 1 tsp

Light soy sauce - 2 tsp

Sugar - 1 tsp

Red chilli paste - 1/2 to 1 tsp (depending on your taste)

Spring onions (scallions) - chopped - 1 tbsp

Chicken stock or water - 4 tbsp (1/4 cup)

Sesame oil - 1/2 tsp

Cornflour (cornstarch) and water mixture - 2 tsp cornstarch to which 1 tbsp cold water has been added and mixed well.

How to make it

Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips. Mince both the orange and lemon rind.

Heat a wok till it's nice and hot. Add the peanut oil and swirl it around the surface. 10 seconds later, add the ginger and garlic.

When the ginger and garlic turn fragrant, add the chicken strips. Wait one minute for the chicken to sear, flip the pieces with a spatula and let the other side sear for one more minute.

Now add all the other ingredients except the spring onions and the cornflour mixture. Bring it to a boil, simmer for another 2 minutes, then stir in the cornflour slurry and mix well. The sauce should thicken in about 10 seconds. Taste for the flavour balance, adding either sugar (more sweetness), orange/lemon juice (more tartness), or light soy sauce (more saltiness) as required.

Quickly add the spring onions, stir once, and serve on to a warm plate.

Chef's notes

This dish can also be served as a cold starter. Just make it less saucy.

If you're living in a tropical country and all you can find is round limes instead of lemons, cut the quantity of juice by half so that you don't accidentally kill the dish. :)

If the orange juice you've got is a sweetened variety (quite common in India), leave the sugar out and make the dish. Add more sugar only if the dish needs it.

The chilli paste actually intensifies some of the flavours in this dish. It's not there to make it "spicy'. Trust me on this one.

Light Soy sauce is one ingredient whose saltiness can vary a lot. Check your brand's saltiness and then adjust. If in doubt, add less. You can always add more later if needed.

My recipe has a decidedly gingery background taste to it. If that puts you off, cut the ginger by half and make it.

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