Showing posts with label Mr. Hoe's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mr. Hoe's. Show all posts

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don’t Be Missing Lemon Chicken

The internet has let me down.  Or maybe it’s not really the internet but human failure to upload what I want to find.  Because, boy, did I search and search to no avail.  No matter whom I blame, the fact of the matter is that I cannot find the video I really wanted to post with this recipe. 

Back story:  Eldest daughter graduated from Singapore American School in 2009.  Some time just before graduation, a handful of students put together a video of the senior class each saying what they would miss about SAS and Singapore.  There were various answers, some touching, some funny, but the one that was repeated over and over and over again, was lemon chicken.  Lemon chicken, lemon chicken, lemon chicken.

I did manage to find this.  The lunch offerings of the SAS caterer, Mr. Hoe.

See, right there, in the right column, every day: lemon chicken.  But the best part is, if you are missing it, lemon chicken is simple to make.  This recipe is from the venerable Ken Hom, but I doubled the sauce and tweaked it a bit.  There can never be too much sauce, am I right?

For the chicken:
1lb or 450g boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts were almost exactly the right amount)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the sauce:
150ml chicken stock
3 oz or a little less than 90ml fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry  
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 cloves garlic
2 fresh red chilies
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

Cut the chicken into thin strips.  Combine them with the egg white, salt, sesame oil and cornstarch in a bowl, mix well.   Put the bowl into the fridge for at least 20 minutes or until you are ready to cook.

Add a liter or about a quart of water to your wok or frying pan and heat until boiling.  

Remove from the heat and immediately add the chicken, stirring vigorously to keep it from sticking and to separate the strips.   (Traditionally this step is done with cooking oil replacing the water.  Mr. Hom suggested boiling water instead to lower the calorie count.  If you want to do oil, you need only 10 oz or 300ml of canola or peanut oil.  I guess oil gets hotter to start with and retains the heat longer for cooking so a small amount will do the trick.)

After about two minutes, when the chicken pieces turn white, remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and discard the water.

Meanwhile, dissolve your sauce cornstarch in two teaspoons of water and split your red chilies up the middle to let the heat out.  This cooks for such a short time that the spiciness will not transfer to the sauce if you don’t.

Wipe the wok or pan clean and re-heat it.  Add the stock, lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine, garlic and chilies and bring the mixture to the boil over a high heat.

You don't need a wok because any pan will do.  I just happen to have one. 

Add the cornstarch mixture and turn the heat down immediately.  Simmer for one minute, stirring constantly.   If you are not ready to serve yet, stop here.  

When you are ready to serve, reheat the sauce and put in the chicken strips.  Cook them long enough to warm through and coat with the sauce.  

Stir in the sesame oil and mix once again.  Serve with white rice and perhaps a green vegetable. 

Mr. Hom suggests a garnish of chopped green onions, but I forgot to add them since we were celebrating our 26th anniversary eve with cocktails.  Fair trade: a vodka tonic with lime for green onions.  Any day.


P.S. If anyone out there knows where I can find that video, please let me know!  I'd love to see it again.