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Lemon chicken is such a comforting dish for me. And I haven't eaten it for about two years.
Today I figured out how to make lemon chicken that's AIP-compliant. I'd found an old hand-written recipe in one of my notebooks where I'd discovered that lemon chicken was just lemon juice, stock and sugar - with cornflour to thicken it. I'd obviously scribbled it down to think I'd have a go at making it one day.
Well today was that day. And I AIP-fied it.
And it was LOVELY.
I squealed and clapped my hands as I gobbled it all up, for lunch. God knows what the neighbours must have thought I was up to.
It doesn't have that lemon-meringue-style sweetness that I remember my local takeaway serving up, it's tangier and you can taste the chicken in the sauce, too. The breaded coating on the chicken is gone, as well. I've replaced it with a tapioca flour dusting so that you get a slightly crisp coating that's a little bit chewy. I love the chicken tossed into the sauce for the last few seconds, but you can always drizzle the sauce over the top if you don't want to drench it completely.
Very easy, very quick and one of my new favourites. 'Takeaway' night gets better and better.
AIP Chinese-Style Lemon Chicken
from my ebook SPICE
juice of 1 lemon
200ml chicken or vegetable stock or broth
2 heaped tablespoons runny honey
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 tbsp mild, unflavoured coconut oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced on the diagonal into medium-sized chunks
2 tbsp tapicoa flour
1 large spring onion
1 tsp arrowroot powder, mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
pinch of salt
First, make the sauce. Combine the lemon juice, chicken or vegetable broth or stock, honey and the coconut sugar in a small saucepan. Turn on the heat, stirring, and bring to a light simmer. Turn down the heat while you cook the chicken.
Measure the tapioca flour out into a wide, shallow bowl and toss the chicken slices in it, to coat. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the tapioca-dusted chicken for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden.
Once the chicken is just cooked and golden on the outside, quickly chop the spring onion and add it to the frying pan to soften with the cooked chicken (use a different board to the one you sliced the chicken on, or I usually just snip the spring onion into the pan using scissors).
Turn your attention now to the sauce, which will have reduced a little in the pan. Pour the arrowroot and water mixture into the sauce and stir until combined and slightly thickened. You can now either pour the sauce over the cooked chicken or serve the chicken and then drizzle the sauce over. Season with a small pinch of salt and serve hot.
You can also grate the zest of the lemon into the sauce for a stronger flavour, if you like.
If you're alarmed by the honey and coconut sugar in the recipe, the honey is essential but the coconut sugar adds a slight toffee flavour and a deeper colour rather than further sweetness. You could have a go at omitting the coconut sugar but you'll end up with a lighter coloured sauce.
The battered chicken will lose its crispness if you toss it into the sauce. If you like to keep it crisp, consider serving the chicken pieces separately and dipping into the sauce, as you eat.
Like this recipe? Find this and over 90 more AIP compliant, paleo recipes in my ebook SPICE. Play with herbs and spices and add flavour to your food! Check it out here.
Looking for more paleo takeout recipes? I love the book Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall - we cook from it almost every week and many of the recipes are easily adapted to AIP, too. Click here for more details.