Lemon chicken recipe, an easy Indo chinese chicken starter recipe with step by step photos. This lemon chicken recipe yields tender chicken bites with a dominant flavor of lemon juice, mint and mild spices. Slightly tangy, mildly hot with full of flavors. It makes a great starter for parties or get together and can also be served as a side to a main course.
Since lemon chicken is a fusion food it pairs well with Indo chinese foods like veg fried rice, schezwan fried rice, veg noodles, egg fried rice, egg noodles or hakka noodles. It can also be served with any rice dishes like jeera rice, peas pulao, or with plain rice and rasam.
I haven’t used lemon zest since i did not have. If you like the flavor you can add a pinch of the powdered zest towards the end.
Preparation for lemon chicken
1. Add chicken cubes or entire breast, ginger paste, red chili powder, salt, turmeric, lemon juice, lemon zest and oil. Do not skip oil, it is the key to tenderize chicken along with lemon juice. I used half of a large lemon. I suggest using fresh lemon and freshly ground ginger or grated ginger.
2. Marinate the chicken and set aside for at least 1 hour 15 minutes. If using a meat mallet or a metal meat tenderizer, marination time can be reduced to 40 minutes. It can also be left overnight in the refrigerator.
How to make lemon chicken recipe
3. Add little oil to the hot pan, fry chopped ginger and garlic.
4. When ginger garlic begins to smell good, add onions, chili, sugar and salt.
5. Fry until the onions turn transparent.
6. Add marinated chicken along with lemon juice. Turn down the flame to low, Stir and fry till the chicken is half cooked.
7. Sprinkle garam masala or cajun spice mix or all spice. I used a flavorful garam masala powder. But earlier i have also made this with cajun spice that is used to make fried chicken and it yielded good results. Mix and fry until you begin to smell the masala good, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
8. Pour soya sauce and cook till the chicken is soft cooked. Sauce should be absorbed by now. Taste the chicken and adjust spice powder, red chili powder or salt as needed. Add more if needed. With an addition of all these the sourness from lemon juice gets balanced.
9. Add finely chopped pudina/mint leaves or celery and fry until the leaves wilt.
10. Chicken should look moist, tender and soft cooked now. Switch off the stove.
Garnish lemon chicken with fresh mint leaves. Serve with onion wedges.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 300 grams chicken boneless cubes or breast
- 1 ½ tbsp oil
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 ½ to 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt as needed
- ¼ tsp lemon zest (optional)
- ¾ tsp red chili powder
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- ½ tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp ginger chopped or minced
- ½ tbsp garlic
- 1 green chili slit
- 1 onion large , chopped
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cajun spice mix or garam masala
- ½ tbsp soya sauce
- 1 Handful celery or mint or coriander leaves
How to make the recipe
- Marinate chicken with all the ingredients mentioned under marinade. Set this aside for about 1 hour 15 minutes. It can also be refrigerated for longer to over night.
Making lemon chicken
- Heat a pan with oil, add ginger and garlic and fry until nice smell begins to waft.
- Add onions, chili, sugar and salt. Fry until the onions turn pink.
- Add marinated chicken and stir. Fry until the chicken is half cooked.
- Add spice powder and stir. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add soya sauce and mix well.
- Cook until the chicken is soft and tender. Any taste can be adjusted now, more chili powder, spice powder,salt or soya sauce can be added to reduce the tang.
- Add mint leaves and fry until they wilt. Chicken should just be moist but not with dripping sauces. Cook to evaporate any excess moisture.
- Serve lemon chicken with onion wedges as a side to fried rice, noodles or rice.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.