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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Chinese-style Lemon Chicken (Gluten-Free)

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 05/15/2013 - Lemon chicken may be one of those Americanized Chinese dishes, like sweet and sour pork, and chow mein that have become a staple at nearly every Chinese restaurant in the country. Still, I love it. However, being gluten free, I have to be careful when dining out. Even if the restaurant doesn't use flour outright, there's always the possibility of cross contamination.

    Photo: CC--Newbirth35One way I've resolved this tension is by learning how to make a delicious gluten-free Chinese-style lemon chicken using a corn-starch-based batter.

    In this delicious recipe, chicken is battered in egg and corn starch, then cooked until it's crispy and golden on the outside, tender on the inside. It is then covered with a sweet, tangy lemon sauce.

    The taste will rival your favorite Chinese restaurant, and have your eating team trading high-fives. Serve it over rice, and garnish with a nice steamed vegetable, like broccoli.

    Chicken Ingredients:

    • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in chunks or short strips
    • ½ cup cornstarch
    • ½ cup green onions, sliced
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • â…› teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ cup water
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 cups cooking oil

    Lemon Sauce Ingredients:

    • 1½ cup water
    • ½ cup lemon juice
    • 3½ tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 2 teaspoons gluten-free chicken bouillon
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger, or more if desired

    Preparation:
    To make the batter, combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Beat the egg yolks with the water until combined. Add the egg mixture to the cornstarch and blend until smooth.

    Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet.

    Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture, until well-coated. Cook in the hot oil until golden brown, turning as needed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

    To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, about 5 minutes until sauce boils and the brown sugar and bouillon granules are fully dissolved.

    Place the chicken in a serving dish, top evenly with sauce, and top with the sliced green onions.


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    2 cups of cooking oil. There should be some way to eliminate all that FAT. Have you considered covering the chicken with the sauce and baking it in the oven or baking the chicken and then adding the sauce before serving?

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    2 cups of cooking oil. There should be some way to eliminate all that FAT. Have you considered covering the chicken with the sauce and baking it in the oven or baking the chicken and then adding the sauce before serving?

    When cooking food in oil, the amount of oil you cook the food in is largely irrelevant. As long as there is enough oil for cooking, then use however much you need. The finished product absorbs the same amount either way. So, using more oil doesn't mean the finished dish contains more fat. As far as baking goes, you're welcome to bake, but it won't be Chinese-style Lemon Chicken.

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    This was excellent! Everyone loved it. I didn't use 2 cups of oil... but still fried the chicken in plenty of oil. Delicious! Thanks! Finally something without soy sauce!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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