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Orange Lemon Chicken

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Jeffrey Larsen

Total time 25 mins

Serves 4

This is a light version of the battered and fried "lemon chicken" found on many Chinese take-out menus. Adding the citrus segments at the end of cooking helps keep the flavors fresh.


  • 1 pound boned, skinned chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, divided
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2-in. piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 green onion, cut into 2-in. slivers
  • 4 cups steamed rice (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 246
  • caloriesfromfat 39 %
  • protein 24 g
  • fat 11 g
  • satfat 1.7 g
  • carbohydrate 13 g
  • fiber 2.2 g
  • sodium 295 mg
  • cholesterol 63 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cut chicken breasts crosswise into 1/2-in.-thick slices, then cut each slice in half lengthwise so you end up with finger-size pieces. Combine chicken, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. white pepper in a small bowl and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.

  2. Zest orange into a small bowl. Segment orange: With a sharp knife, trim off ends and set a cut side down on a cutting board. Following the curve of the fruit, trim off peel and white pith. Set a strainer in a separate bowl and, working over bowl, slice segments free of membranes. Squeeze juice from membranes into strainer. Measure 3 tbsp. juice and add to bowl with zest. Set orange segments aside.

  3. Cut lemon in half and set one half aside. Zest and juice the other half into bowl with orange juice and zest, then add brown sugar, sesame oil, and remaining 1/4 tsp. white pepper. Set sauce aside.

  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger and cook until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Push onion and ginger to one side of pan and add chicken in a single layer. Let sear undisturbed 2 minutes. Add celery and citrus sauce and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

  5. Remove from heat and stir in reserved orange segments. Pour into serving bowl or onto a platter. Squeeze juice from reserved lemon half over chicken and shower with slivered green onion. Serve with steamed rice if you like.

Cook's Notes

Nutritional analysis is per serving without rice.