Dear SOS: I’ve been looking for a lemon chicken like the ones you get at Chinese restaurants. I’ve tried recipes from the Internet, supposedly Chinese-style, but they’re not close.
Dear I.: This is from Ken Hom’s “Foolproof Chinese Cooking” (DK Publishing, 2001). He explains that many versions of this recipe are too sweet. This one, though, strikes a nice balance between sweetness and tartness. Instead of the chicken being battered and fried, it is made using a technique called “velveting” that requires two steps: The chicken is dipped in a mixture of cornstarch, egg white and salt, then blanched in water or cooked in hot oil. This adds a protective cover to the chicken and holds in the juices. It’s great for stir-fries.