One of my favorite Chinese take-out dishes is citrus chicken.
It can be lemon or orange, but I love the slightly sweet and sour sauce with the crispy fried chicken.
While there’s a whole world of citrus out there, you really only see those two kinds on most menus: orange and lemon.
Since grapefruits are really good right now, I thought I’d change up the traditional recipe and try to use grapefruit instead. The sauce has a little more tang to it, which is balanced with some sugar. Man, is it addictive!
Check out the full recipe for this grapefruit chicken
Obviously, to start this you’ll need some grapefruit juice. Since you also need the zest of the grapefruit for the recipe, just pick up a whole grapefruit. Look for one that is firm, but gives to pressure on the ends.
When you’re prepping the grapefruit, it’s a lot easier to zest the grapefruit before juicing it. Just use a zester or microplane and scrape off the very outer layer of zest from the fruit.
You should get about a tablespoon and will use it all.
Then just slice it in half and juice it! You probably won’t need all the juice from one grapefruit.
Besides those things, the only thing you need to actually chop for the sauce is some fresh ginger and garlic. Both of these are very important to giving the sauce rich flavor.
Mix this stuff with all of the other sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Then turn the heat down to low and simmer it for about 10 minutes.
While you could leave this sauce kind of chunky, I recommend straining it, which will make for a silky smooth sauce at the end. It’ll be closer to what you would get in a restaurant if you strain it.
Don’t worry, the sauce will be infused with plenty of flavor at this point.
Now that your sauce is basically ready, it’s time to prep the chicken. This is a very simple fried chicken recipe.
Basically, just slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes and then dust them with some flour.
Move the chicken to a bowl with some mixed eggs.
Then move the chicken back to the seasoned flour bowl. This flour-egg-flour combo will create a really nice thick crust on the chicken.
As you bread your chicken, you can pile them all on a plate for now.
In a large, sturdy pot or wok, heat up about a quart of oil until it’s 350 degrees. As always when frying, I highly recommend using a deep-fry thermometer to make sure your oil is the right temperature.
I also always recommend doing a test piece of chicken just to make sure your breading is right and everything is working.
Then you can just fry your chicken in a few batches. They’ll need 8-10 minutes to cook through and turn a nice deep golden brown.
Once the chicken is done frying, move it to a plate with a few paper towels to drain.
Now it’s time to finish our sauce. The trick to making a sauce that’s smooth and thick like you get in Chinese restaurants is a corn starch slurry.
Basically, just stir together a few tablespoons of corn starch with some water to make a slurry. This stuff is instant thickener.
In a large skillet or wok, pour your reserved sauce in and put it over high heat. Once it’s simmering hot, add in your slurry and stir it together. It’ll immediately thicken. It’s pretty cool, actually.
Then you can just toss in your fried chicken!
Serve this stuff with some rice. I like to garnish mine with some scallion greens but that’s optional.
I think this will really surprise you both with flavor and how easy it is to actually make. You could really have this meal on the table in under an hour without a problem.
If you’re tired of orange and lemon…try grapefruit!
More Citrus RecipesNick isn’t even sure if they have grapefruits in China. Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him from his Tablespoon profile.
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