Japanese katsu meets Chinese sweet-sour lemon sauce in this lemon chicken recipe. Double frying the panko-coated chicken fillets ensures maximum crispness.
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed (see notes after the recipe)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 ½ cups panko (see notes after the recipe)
- cooking oil
Marinate the chicken
- Wipe the chicken thigh fillets dry.
- Place the chicken fillets between sheets of sling film and pound with a kitchen mallet until the thickness is even.
- Place the pounded chicken in a bowl, add the five-spice powder, salt and pepper, and toss well.
- Cover the bowl with the seasoned chicken and keep in the fridge for three to eight hours.
Make lemon sauce
- In a small sauce pan, stir all the ingredients for the lemon sauce.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat to medium and boil gently, oncovered, until thickened, about 12 minutes (see notes after the recipe).
Double fry the chicken
- Place the rice flour, egg and panko in three separate shallow bowls.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge.
- Dredge each chicken fillet in flour and shake off the excess.
- Dip the floured chicken in egg making sure every inch of the surface is moistened.
- Roll the chicken fillet in panko to coat the surface completely.
- Heat enough cooking oil in a wok or frying pan to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Over medium heat, fry the chicken fillets in batches for two to three minutes per side, scoop out and rest on a rack or plate lined with paper towels.
- Turn up the heat to high.
- Fry the chicken fillets a second time for a minute or so until browned and crisp.
- Chop the fried chicken fillets into strips and arrange in a serving plate or bowl.
- Drizzle the lemon sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with sliced scallions.
- Serve the lemon chicken with rice.
Panko is a special kind of flaky breading that comes from Japan. If unavailable, use regular UNSWEETENED bread crumbs. If you prefer a brighter-colored lemon sauce, stir in a pinch or two of turmeric powder before boiling the ingredients together. The lemon sauce thickens as it cools. And that’s why it’s ideal to cook it before frying the chicken. If, after the sauce has cooled for about 10 minutes, it still looks too thin, boil for another few minutes and cool again.