I Always Make This Recipe When I Have Chicken Breasts + Lemon

I Always Make This Recipe When I Have Chicken Breasts + Lemon
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Crispy chicken—it’s the culinary globetrotter, strutting its golden goodness from Wiener Schnitzel to Korean KFC. Even those Chinese takeout legends, “lemon chicken,” owe their sweet-tangy swagger to this globe-trotting bird. Today, we’re giving that familiar friend a zesty makeover, ditching the wait for homemade preserved lemons for a shortcut paste. Think juicy chicken nuggets dipped in sunshine, with a vibrant lemony sauce that’ll make your taste buds do a tap dance. And because no party’s complete without a killer sidekick, we’ve got broccoli basking in a spicy peanut gochujang dressing and fluffy coconut rice that smells like pure paradise. So grab your chopsticks, crank up the tunes, and get ready to take your taste buds on a crispy, tangy adventure – all inspired by a little chicken’s global tour.

For your information, most called this “double-lemon chicken with cheat’s preserved lemon.” But, whatever its name, the taste is so delicious and always makes me hungry.

How to Make This Recipe?



  • 1 (5 1/4 oz./150 g.) large unwaxed lemon, ends trimmed and discarded, then cut into 1/4″/1/2-cm.-thick rounds, seeds removed
  • 1/4 c. (60 mL.) fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
  • 2 tsp. flaky sea salt


  • 2 large egg whites (save yolks for another use)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp. (90 mL.) sunflower oil
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and finely sliced at an angle (2 tbsp./10 g.)
  • 1/4 c. (5 g.) cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


  • 3 tbsp. cheat’s preserved lemon
  • 3 c. (700 mL.) chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. (25 g.) unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice



Step 1: Make the cheat’s preserved lemon by first putting all the ingredients into a small saucepan, for which you have a lid, on medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover with the lid and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the rinds start to look translucent and the juice has reduced by about half. Set aside to cool slightly, then transfer everything to the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth, spreadable paste (similar to lemon curd—add extra water if needed).

Step 2: Make Ahead: Preserved lemon can be made 1 month ahead. Store in a sterilized jar and refrigerate.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the egg whites, soy sauce, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper just until there aren’t any lumps, about 30 seconds. Working with one breast at a time, place the chicken between two pieces of parchment paper and use a meat mallet (or the bottom of a pan) to pound the chicken evenly so it’s just 1/2″/1 centimeter thick. Transfer to the egg-white bowl and continue with the remaining chicken breasts. Stir everything together gently to coat, then marinate for at least half an hour (or refrigerate overnight if you’re getting ahead).


Step 1: Make the sauce by first putting 3 tablespoons of the cheat’s preserved lemon, the stock, butter, garlic, sugar, turmeric, and half the cumin into a medium saucepan and placing it on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then cook for 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until reduced by about a third. Measure out roughly 3 tablespoons of the sauce into a small bowl, add the cornstarch and whisk until there are no lumps. Whisk this back into the saucepan and cook for 1 minute on medium-high, whisking continuously, until smooth and thickened slightly. Remove from the heat.

Step 2: Heat the sunflower oil in a large high-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, fry two of the marinated chicken breasts for 3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and just cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and continue with the remaining two breasts (be careful, as the oil might spit; turn down the heat if needed). Pour off the oil into a bowl (reserving for another use). Add the lemon sauce to the frying pan and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Put back the chicken breasts and cook for just 3 minutes, gently turning them halfway through. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for the sauce.

Step 3: Transfer the chicken breasts to a large serving platter with a lip (cutting them into strips, if you like) and pour the sauce all over. Sprinkle with the remaining cumin. In a small bowl, toss together the green onion, cilantro, and lemon juice and spoon this over the top.

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About the Author: Jenny Kristy

Spice Seeker, Recipe Weaver, Nomad Chef |With a passport bursting with stamps and a pantry overflowing with global spices, Jenny Kristy isn't just a cook, she's a culinary nomad. Her travels fuel her passion, transforming exotic flavors into recipes that tantalize and transport. She weaves magic in her kitchen, sharing her adventures through meals that whisper of Marrakesh markets and Tuscan trattorias. From teaching sushi to whipping up Moroccan masterpieces, Jenny ignites wanderlust and connects cultures, one delicious bite at a time.

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