Lemon Chicken Cutlet

Healthy Lemon Chicken | Omnivore's Cookbook

Blogging pushes me to learn and try out new things every day. I consider this to be one of the best things about blogging. Although I grew up in China and have been eating Chinese food for most of my life, there are many dishes that I might never try, or have even heard of. Before I started this blog, I had no idea that lemon chicken even existed. You might think I’m a failed blogger, since this is a quite famous dish in overseas Chinese restaurants. The truth is, I’m a northerner and we have very a different food culture from that of the southern part of China.

If you’ve only tried Chinese food outside of China, you will experience culinary culture shock when you come here. You will find such a wide diversity of Chinese restaurants here. For dishes from each province of China (There’re 23 of them!), the taste of food and the dishes served in restaurants are so different, that you will feel like you’re eating in different countries! However, since the majority of overseas Chinese restaurants serve Cantonese food, this regional cuisine has become representative cuisine for all of China.

As a Chinese food blogger, I feel the obligation to learn and try out new dishes every day, especially those from the unexplored territory within my own country! So I decided to try out the classic Cantonese signature dish at home, even though I’d never had it in a restaurant!

Healthy Lemon Chicken | Omnivore's Cookbook

After going through some lemon chicken recipes online, I found that I have to deep-fry the chicken to enhance its texture and taste. Fried food tastes great and I love to eat it, but it doesn’t fit into my daily diet. Plus, it’s so messy to fry things at home and it requires tons of oil. So I decided to find a way to cook a healthier version of lemon chicken, by grilling instead of deep-frying it.

I was so surprised at how delicious the dish turned out! I used fresh lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar to make the sauce. So the dish has a nice, refreshing, and pungent sourness, a hearty sweetness, and a bit of savory character. The chicken is moist and tender and tasted very satisfying and appetizing with the sweet and sour flavor.

Now, I’ll stop talking so we can cook this delicious treat! :)

Healthy Lemon Chicken | Omnivore's Cookbook

Lemon Chicken Cutlet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 2
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing Wine
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Lemon sauce
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 cup water
Cornstarch water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
To cook chicken
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion (or green onion)
  • Healthy Lemon Chicken - Ingredients | Omnivore's Cookbook
  1. Halve chicken breast into 2 thin pieces.
    Healthy Lemon Chicken - Process | Omnivore's Cookbook Healthy Lemon Chicken - Process | Omnivore's Cookbook
  2. Gently hit both sides of chicken with the back of knife or a meat hammer until the thickness is half the original. Be careful, chicken meat is very soft and may fall apart if hit too hard.
  3. Place chicken breast on a plate, skin side down. Pour Shaoxing wine over the cutlet, evenly disperse minced ginger on top, and press them both into the chicken. Season lightly with salt. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
    Healthy Lemon Chicken - Process | Omnivore's Cookbook Healthy Lemon Chicken - Process | Omnivore's Cookbook
  4. While marinating chicken, prepare garlic and scallion and mix lemon sauce. Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to make cornstarch water and set aside.
  5. When chicken is ready, discard marinade and dry chicken breast with a paper towel. Dust both sides with cornstarch and shake off any extra.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add chicken breast and cook until the bottom side turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip chicken breast and turn to lowest heat. Simmer, covered, for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the juice runs clear when stuck with a knife. Transfer chicken to a plate immediately.
  7. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into the same skillet and turn to medium heat. Add garlic and scallion and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir lemon sauce with a spoon until mixed well and pour it into the skillet. Cook until the liquid is reduced to half, then turn to lowest heat. Mix cornstarch water again, until mixed evenly, then slowly swirl it into the skillet. Immediately stir with a spatula to thicken sauce. Turn off heat immediately.
  8. Drizzle lemon sauce over top of chicken and serve warm with steamed rice.

The nutrition facts is calculated based on 1 of the 2 servings generated by this recipe.

lemon chicken cutlet nutrition facts | Omnivore's Cookbook


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  1. Bev Edge says

    This looks delicious! I also dislike breading and frying at home, and this looks so much more light and refreshing. I really want to try making it for my family now!

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