Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ning Meng Ji 檸檬雞 Lemon Chicken

Together with black pepper beef and sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken is one of the most bastardized Cantonese dishes in the western world. I am appalled by the thickly battered chicken swimming in a pool of gluggy fluorescent yellow sauce served at most Chinese restaurants here in Melbourne. This is my family recipe that I grew up with; no thick batter and certainly no gluggy yellow sauce here, instead there are golden pieces of chicken lightly glazed with a sweet and tart lemony sauce. Give it a try and you might be wondering why restaurants still insist on serving us that dumped down version? 
I am again using my favourite chicken spareribs in this recipe, you can of course use any cut that suits your taste. For a similar recipe, check out my citrus chicken ribs.

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
1/2 kg of chicken ribs with skin on
5 cm knob of ginger, grated
1 spring onion (white part only), finely minced
1 tbs of light soy
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tbs of Chinese cooking wine
dash of white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
corn flour for coating
peanut oil for frying
2 spring onions for garnish
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced for garnish

for the lemon sauce;
juice from half a lemon (about 5 tbs)
4 tbs of sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil
6 tbs of chicken stock
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of corn flour

Marinate chicken with ginger, spring onion, soy, sesame oil, white pepper, Chinese cooking wine, beaten egg for at least an hour or overnight.

Coat chicken pieces with corn flour, shake off access flour and set aside.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Give it a little stir just before using.

For the garnish - prepare some thinly sliced lemon slices. Cut spring onions into sections, thinly slice lengthwise and refresh in a bowl of cold water.

Fry chicken pieces in batches on medium heat till light golden, remove and drain well. Turn the heat up and fry chicken pieces a second time until golden and crispy, drain well and set aside.

Add the sauce mixture to a wok and cook on medium heat until thick and syrupy.

Add chicken to the wok, turn off the flame and coat chicken pieces evenly in the tasty lemon sauce.

Serve immediately with the garnishes as part of a Chinese meal.


  1. It certainly look so much better than the take out place or restaurant lemon chicken. I bet it taste good too.

  2. hmm satu lagi menu dari dapur Tummy yang makcik pasti cuba.

  3. Harriet from carltonFebruary 26, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    This looks nothing like the lemon chicken that I know of. I must say I am not a big fan of the gluggy sauce myself!

  4. Your dish make me so hungry now, have yet to take lunch, give me some please..

  5. This is so much better than the stuff that's commercially available.

  6. An excellent and tasteful dish!
    I def. bookmark it.

    Happy and yummy weekend!

    B xx

  7. Ha ha, I never order lemon chicken when we eat out but my MIL loves it, fluorescent sauce and all, sigh. Can you make the "Onion ring chicken" one day too? Pretty please :)

  8. This sounds delicious! I am sure my husband would love this. He like sweet and sour flavour, that's why :).

  9. lol I'm with you. Sometimes, it's like eating batter rather than chicken.

  10. Westernized Lemon Chicken is so nasty, this definitely looks worth a try!

  11. tried it today, the whole family loved it. thanks!

  12. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you're a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!
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