How to cook Chinese Lemon Chicken

Chinese Lemon Chili Chicken

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 3 people


For the lemon sauce

  • ¼ cup rice wine
  • ¼ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed (see notes after the recipe)
  • 1 generous pinch salt
  • 2 bird's eye chilies chopped (omit if serving to children)
  • ½ cup sugar

For the fried chicken

  • 6 chicken thigh fillets cut into strips about half an inch wide
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 1 egg white
  • cooking oil for frying

To garnish

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • thinly sliced scallions


Make the sauce

  • In a sauce pan, pour in the rice wine and lemon juice.
  • Add salt, chilies (if using) and sugar.
  • Boil the sauce until syrupy and amber-colored. It should take about 10 minutes, uncovered, over medium heat.

Fry the chicken

  • While the sauce reduces, season the chicken with salt and pepper, and mix. Add the starch, mix well, pour in the egg white and mix again.
  • Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
  • Fry the chicken in batches, about three minutes per batch, just until lightly browned.

Assemble the dish

  • Dump the fried chicken in a bowl, pour in the lemon sauce and toss for a minute until the sauce thickens (it thickens fast as it cools) and coats every piece of chicken well. By the time you're done tossing, there should be very little loose sauce in the bowl.
  • Transfer the lemon chili chicken to a platter, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions, and serve immediately.



For those of you in Southeast Asia and have access to kalamansi, you may use kalamansi juice instead of lemon juice.