Monday, January 19, 2015

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

For Christmas this year, I was spoiled and received many kitchen gadgets. One of them is an all-purpose kitchen kettle. I have actually thought about getting a deep-fryer and was pleasantly surprised by this multi-use appliance. It can steam vegetables, it can make rice, and you even make soups with it. I might stick to using it just as a deep-fryer though.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

But with this appliance, I don't have to pan fry every little piece of chicken and wait five hours for all of it to finish cooking. I might be exaggerating a bit but when you're the one standing at the stove cooking all of the little pieces, it sure can feel that long. Plus, my stove gets super greasy with all the oil splattering everywhere and deep-frying the chicken makes it that much easier and cleaner for me. I have been avoiding this recipe for a while just because of the fact that I'd have to pan-fry the chicken, but last night I was able to make this with ease.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

The juice of two lemons seemed like quite a bit to me when I was making the marinade but it was the perfect amount. The chicken had just the right amount of lemon-y tang to it. I didn't dip the chicken pieces into the honey and lemon zest dip that the original recipe provides. I just drizzled a little honey on top along with Sriracha hot sauce and ate it like that! It tasted great.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

Deep frying has a bad reputation that it doesn't really deserve. Yes, all that oil is definitely not good for you, but it's all about moderation. Have some deep fried food once in a while -- it won't hurt. Pan-frying can be just as bad if you don't do it the right way. Both the deep fryer and the pan must be hot and ready to go before adding any food. Otherwise, the food will just absorb the cold oil, excess oil that you don't need. I know my impatience has gotten the best of me sometimes and I have added stuff to a pan filled with cold or lukewarm oil plenty of times. With a deep fryer, for some reason, I always make sure the big ol' pot of oil is ready to go before adding anything. Plus, anything made at home has better taste and ingredients than what you might find eating out. You know where your oil's been too!

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
2 large lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp honey, all the lemon juice, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Whisk ingredients together, then add chicken pieces to a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

When ready to make, add flour, cornstarch, 1 tsp lemon zest and the remaining salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix well.

Heat your deep fryer to 350F. Wait until it is very hot and ready to go (you do not want the chicken to absorb more oil than necessary). Fill your deep fry basket with a single layer of chicken and place into the oil when ready. Let it fry for 5 to 6 minutes. When ready, take the basket out of the oil and let it drain for a bit, then place on a plate covered with paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken in batches.

If you would like to pan-fry your chicken, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, and once it is very hot, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Coat chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then add to the skillet and cook until each side is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and set chicken on a paper-towel covered plate. Cook remaining batches, adding more/less oil if needed.

Serve with rice and a few tablespoons of honey mixed with lemon zest for dipping or drizzling.

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