Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

June: National Lemon Month

Many cultures have their own version of boneless meat, which is coated in seasoned flour/breadcrumbs/batter, then fried or baked, and accompanied with gravy or sauce. Lemon chicken from L&L Drive-Inn, a popular chain restaurant in Hawaii and in select spots around the world, is one of Islander and her brother’s favorite deep fried chicken dishes with a tangy sweet lemon sauce.

During our undergraduate years in Hawaii, we would walk down our hilly campus to the L&L restaurant and treat ourselves to a cheap lunch or dinner when we did not want to eat cafeteria food or cook in our dorm kitchen. When we first ordered the lemon chicken, it looked like a giant, sliced chicken nugget with a sunny yellow dipping sauce on the side. As simple as the entrée was, we just loved the lemon sauce! It really is what makes the chicken a delicious dish.

For National Lemon Month, make lemon chicken for a local-style plate lunch.

Recipe

(Adapted from L&L Drive-Inn via the Star-Bulletin Archives)

For the chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken (we used thinly sliced chicken breast meat)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chicken-flavored bouillon (we crushed a bouillon cube)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Pound the chicken meat to ¼-inch thickness or cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside and make the marinade. In a large glass bowl, mix together the water and vegetable oil. Blend in the cornstarch and flour. Stir in the egg. Season with salt, bouillon, white pepper and garlic powder.

Lemon Chicken

Mix to make a smooth batter. Coat the chicken in the marinade and leave for at least two hours. Deep fry the chicken in 350-degree oil until golden brown (5 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

Lemon Chicken

For the lemon sauce

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar (we used cane sugar vinegar)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • small piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon of yellow food coloring
  • slices of lemon

Directions

In a measuring cup, make a slurry by dissolving the cornstarch in lemon juice. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.

Lemon Chicken

Add the ginger, lemon extract and a few slices of lemon. Tint with yellow food coloring. Slowly stir in the cornstarch-lemon juice mixture until thickened and smooth. Discard the ginger. Serve the sauce on the side with the lemon chicken.

Lemon Chicken

Notes

  • The lemon sauce may be made ahead of time and re-heated. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
  • This lemon chicken is a Chinese-influenced recipe. There are other lemon chicken recipes inspired by international ingredients.
  • Serve L&L Drive-Inn lemon chicken with scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Onolicious!
  • For another fruit-flavored sauce with chicken, try the recipe for honey orange glazed chicken listed in our September archives (National Chicken Month).
  • Love lemons? Search our blog for more lemon recipes.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

September: National Chicken Month

Islander and her college roommate, Monica C., from Taiwan used to cook together when the cafeteria was closed during the university holidays. With limited resources in the dorm kitchen, they could only make simple meals. Baked teriyaki chicken was their “go-to dish” as it was delicious to eat with the plain white rice that was cooked in their shared steamer—and it was easy to prepare for inexperienced chefs!

Several years have passed since graduation but Islander still bakes teriyaki chicken when she is lazy or tired but hungry for something substantial (and nostalgic). The source of the recipe is not known but it reminds Islander of her college cooking days with her roommate with whom she still keeps in touch.

 For National Chicken Month, make mealtime memorable with baked teriyaki chicken.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6-8 chicken thighs
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • sesame seeds
  • green onion, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

In a foil-lined pan, arrange the chicken thighs. In a saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, corn starch, sugar, garlic, black pepper, soy suace, vinegar and ginger. Whisk until mixed well. Stir over medium high heat until thickened.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, reserving some of the sauce to serve with the chicken. Garnish with green onions.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Notes

  • When Islander and Monica C. did not have access to a stove top (like when other dorm residents were using it), they improvised and just microwaved the teriyaki sauce ingredients until thickened (about 3-5 minutes) then poured it over the chicken before baking.
  • Search our blog for other chicken recipes.

Honey Orange Glazed Chicken

Honey Orange Glazed Chicken

September:
National Honey Month and National Poultry/Chicken Month

Make a boring baked chicken better by glazing it with a “finger-licking good” honey-orange sauce. This is an extremely easy recipe that we used as newlyweds with limited culinary skills and kitchen tools. We still make this main dish when we do not have much energy to prepare an elaborate meal. Have some Honey Orange Glazed Chicken during National Honey Month and National Poultry/Chicken Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Tasty Bird)

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken leg quarters, 4 thighs or 4 wings
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • thinly sliced oranges (optional)

Directions

Wash and pat dry the chicken parts. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a lightly foil-lined shallow baking pan, skin side up. Bake at 400 degrees F in a preheated oven or until partially cooked through and the skin is browned (about 20-30 minutes). Drain any juices. Meanwhile, make the honey orange glaze. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, mustard, soy sauce, honey and orange juice. Mix until well combined.

Honey Orange Glazed Chicken

Pour the glaze over the chicken. Continue baking for another 10 minutes until the glaze has thickened. Bake for another 10 minutes, spooning the glaze over the chicken. Remove from the oven. Garnish with a thin twist of an orange slice (optional) and serve hot.

Honey Orange Glazed Chicken

Oven-Fried Chicken

Oven-Fried Chicken

July 6: National Fried Chicken Day

Islander loves fried chicken—so much so that she gave it up for Lent one year. After the 40 days of fasting were over, we celebrated her weeks’ long “sacrifice” and ate at a fast food chicken chain for our Easter brunch!  Perhaps she could have satisfied her cravings for fried chicken if it were baked?!? Oven-fried chicken is just as juicy, tender and tasty but less greasy and messy to make at home. It really is not bad for being baked so she can have her guilty pleasure during Lent and on National Fried Chicken Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

  • 6-8 chicken legs (or 3 pounds favorite chicken pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup flour (we used Bisquick Heart Smart low fat brand)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions

Line a baking pan with foil. Put the butter in the pan and bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F until melted. Keep the pan hot. Meanwhile, combine the flour or Bisquick with the paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in ths mixture.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Place the chicken in the buttered pan. Bake for 35 minutes, then turn the chicken to the other side and bake for another 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Notes

Chicken Marengo

Chicken Marengo

June 14: Battle of Marengo (1800)

Chicken Marengo was created by the personal chef of Napoléon Bonaparte after the French were victorious over the Austrians on the Italian battlefield near the village of Marengo. Using ingredients on hand at the time, the chef reportedly cut up the chicken with a sword and made a tomato sauce with leftover cognac (modern versions of this recipe use wine). Chicken Marengo then became known as Napoléon’s lucky dish.

We were not so lucky the first time we made Chicken Marengo. The chicken thighs were brown and beautiful on the outside—but they were still pink and not pretty on the inside! The recipe from a cookbook that we got at a used bookstore did not mention using a partially-cooked chicken to begin with. Since then, we have prepared Chicken Marengo by parboiling the meat first. Fortunately, the food is fabulous for us now!

Good luck in making Chicken Marengo to mark the Battle of Marengo.

Recipe

(Adapted from “Wonderful Ways to Prepare Chicken” by Jo Ann Shirley)

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken (we use skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • ½ cup flour, divided use
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided use
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup olives, pitted and sliced (we omitted these)
  • ½ cup white cooking wine

Directions

Parboil the chicken until slightly cooked. Let cool and cut into pieces. In a bowl, combine the seasonings (salt, pepper and garlic powder) with the flour. Dredge the chicken pieces in this mixture.

Chicken Marengo

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Fry the floured chicken in the melted butter until brown and the meat is cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm on a serving bowl. In the same pan, melt the rest of the butter, scraping up some of the browned bits.

Chicken Marengo

Stir in 3 tablespoons of remaining flour (from dredging the chicken) and mix to make a gravy. Thin with the chicken stock until smooth and no longer lumpy. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and wine. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add a little water if the gravy is too thick. Pour this gravy-sauce mixture over the chicken. Serve hot.

Chicken Marengo

Notes

  • Serve Chicken Marengo with crusty bread (French or Italian), pasta noodles or rice.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

January: National Slow Cooker Month/National Meat Month

Our Thai friends, Nat and Jib W., were married exactly a week before us in their country. We met them through Islander’s brother, Kahuna; Jib was his college classmate at a university in the Pacific Northwest. Nat and Jib enjoy visiting Oahu whenever they can for vacation and decided to spend their 10th wedding anniversary there, too. Coincidentally, we returned to Hawaii to renew our vows on our own anniversary and were able to celebrate our special milestones with them! It was doubly fun!

We got to visit Nat and Jib in California when Islander had a conference there. They were wonderful hosts, showing us the San Francisco sites and treating us to Thai restaurants around town. Since then, they have opened a couple of successful Thai cafés of their own.

Although this Thai chicken recipe may not be as authentic as the ones Nat and Jib serve at their own home and restaurants, we are inspired by our Thai friends to make this meat dish in a crockpot for an easy, ethnic meal. Try this tender and tasty Slow Cooker Thai Chicken recipe during National Slow Cooker Month and National Meat Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Woman’s Day Specials SlowCooking Magazine – 2005)

Ingredients

  • 2½ pounds of favorite chicken pieces (we used drumsticks)
  • 1 cup salsa (medium or hot)
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • juice of one small lime
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup peanuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker pot. In a bowl, mix the salsa, peanut butter, lime juice and soy sauce.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Grate the ginger and mix into the sauce. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce over it. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Notes

  • Thanks to the G4 Family for the slow cooker. It has come in handy for many of our crockpot blog post recipes.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for the Thai silk background used in the final food photo above. She had served in Thailand as a U.S. naval reservist.
  • Try using chunky/crunchy peanut butter for added texture in this recipe. Also, garnish with green onions for a zestier flavor.
  • We used Reynold’s brand slow cooker liners on the bottom of our crockpot for easy cleanup.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

September: National Chicken Month

Highlander frequently orders kung pao chicken whenever we eat at a Chinese restaurant. But he finds that some are chintzy on the chicken and the nuts are almost non-existent. He prefers this classic Szechuan dish to be meaty, nutty, spicy and saucy instead of  the “very veggie-fied” versions serve at some of the Chinese restaurants. Highlander also likes the cashew chicken stir-fry from Islander’s Daddy, so based on his recipe she now cooks kung pao chicken for her hubby with his request for more substantial ingredients in mind. Below is our basic home-style kung pao chicken recipe in observance of National Chicken Month.

Recipe

(Inspired by Daddy)

For the chicken marinade

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sherry or Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • vegetable or hot chili oil

Directions

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, sherry, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix in the corn starch until smooth. Add the chicken pieces and marinate for 30 minutes. Heat a little oil in a wok or skillet. Brown the chicken and cook ¾ way through. Set aside and keep warm. Prepare the sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

For the stir-fry

  • 6-8 dried chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks green onions, diced to ¼ inch
  • ½ cup peanuts, roasted and unsalted
  • vegetable or hot chili oil

Directions

In the same wok or skillet, add a little vegetable oil, if necessary, and stir-fry the dried chili peppers, minced garlic and ¾ of the green onions for a minute.

Kung Pao Chicken

Add the chicken and heat until fully cooked. Pour in the sauce and stir until thickened. Mix in the nuts. Sprinkle the remaining green onions on top. Transfer to a platter and serve hot with rice.

Kung Pao Chicken

Notes

  • Traditionally, Szechuan peppercorns are stir-fried into the dish to add a distinctive aroma and authentic spicy flavor to the kung pao chicken. This may be hard to find in American markets because of a nearly 40-year import ban on the peppers. To add more heat to this recipe, use hot chili oil instead of the peppercorns to saute the chicken and other ingredients.
  • If you like nuts in Chinese stir-fry dishes, try our cashew chicken recipe posted on November 22 (National Cashew Day).