December 27, 2012 by Joanne T Ferguson
When I was in elementary school and lived in the suburbs of New York, it was always a special treat to go “all the way” into New York City for a day’s adventure. I never knew why we always said, “ALL the way into the city” as it simply was two trains; get off one, change trains (literally walk from the train to the train opposite our train)
For me, it was always exciting and one of my (many) favorite places to go was Chinatown. I loved the sights, the sounds, the “buzz” of the people and the wide variety of foods I had never seen before. It was different for me to see ducks in the window; a popular sight. For me, all I knew was I loved Peking Duck. Someone convinced me when I was little the reason they are named Peking Duck is they are “peeking out at me.” OK, I was young and impressionable 😉
These expereinces probably “peeked” (no pun intended) my food curiosity!
Which brings me to one of my next impressionable moments, the pure enjoyment of having one of my favorite dishes: Lucky Lemon Chicken. Why is it called Lucky Lemon Chicken I would ask? Depending on who I asked, the answers were all different. What they did have in common was 1) the dish was “lucky” and 2) I was “lucky” to have the dish! 🙂 So, back then that was enough for me to know! Now, Lucky Lemon Chicken brings back many fond childhood memories and sometimes I simply get a craving for it and want to make it myself, TRUE! And now, I will share my “Lucky” dish with you!
I now know during the two weeks of Chinese New Years celebrations (called the Spring Festival) lucky foods are served.
Did you know Spring Rolls and clams signify wealth as the spring rolls resemble gold bars in shape and the clams are like gold bouillon.
The recipe is adapted from Panlasang Pinoy
500 grams chicken tenders, cut into thin strips
cornstarch for dredging
2 tablespoon tamari*
1 tablespoon cornstarch diluted in 2 tablespoons water
zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sherry
¾ cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon xylitol**
white pepper to taste
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 extra tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baby spinach, cleaned and chopped
3 tablespoons celery leaves, chopped
- Combine chicken slices and tamari well. Marinate for 20 minutes minimally.
- Dredge chicken slices in cornstarch.
- Heat pan, add oil; fry coated chicken until light brown. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon, sauté garlic, spinach and celery leaves.
- Add chicken stock, sherry, xylitol, lemon zest, lemon juice, white pepper. Stir and let boil.
- Slowly pour in cornstarch diluted with water. Stir until sauce thickens. (about 1-2 minutes)
- Add back in cooked chicken slices. Stir and cook for 1 minute. ENJOY!
Do you have any childhood food beliefs that simply were not true?
And do you have a craving for Lucky Lemon Chicken now too?
*The original recipe calls for soy sauce. I substituted tamari which is less salty. Both sauces are made from fermented soybeans with the main difference being the amount of wheat between the two; tamari has little to no wheat and a higher concentration of soybeans.
**Xylitol is a natural sugar free sweetener that looks and tastes like sugar, but does not cause a “sugar spike” that other products cause. It has no bitter aftertaste and is great for cooking and baking too.
Follow up Hints and Tips:
1. I cut my chicken tenders in half horizontally, squared off by slicing pieces top and bottom and cut into thin strips about 2 inches long.
2. Repeat after me: “THIS IS NOT DAUNTING TO DO!” and “I CAN NOW DO THIS TOO!” 🙂
3. I found by using a deep frying pan, being “patient” until the oil gets hot enough after shimmering back at you, I then was “patient” to dredge the chicken pieces with one hand and cook them in small batches of about 10 – 12 pieces at a time; my pieces took 1 minute each side and don’t move them once you place them in the oil. NOTE TO SELF: Do not dip fingers in the hot oil! 🙂 Hope that tidbit helps too!! 🙂
3. Adjust salt for personal taste if needed when adding sugar mixture.
Another recipe is now “off the list!” WHOO HOO!
FOLLOW UP NOTE: This Lucky Lemon Chicken is best eaten when made and not reheated.