I’ve tried making Chinese food several times with limited success. Mostly it has been orange chicken, and the results have been “just okay”. I’ve yet to find a recipe for orange chicken that knocks my socks off. I used to have an amazing recipe for Chinese lemon chicken. I mean years ago, and I lost it. It was really good and pretty easy to make. All that I recall is that it had white vinegar in it and also sugar. It might have been equal parts chicken stock too. It’s all fuzzy now, but I remember that a key part of the recipe was the delicate balance between the sweet and tart.
It’s sort of the same story with honey chicken. You probably don’t think much about the tart part when you’re eating it, but let’s face it; it doesn’t taste like candied chicken. That would be kind of disgusting, wouldn’t it?
I’ve been searching for a Chinese honey chicken recipe for some time now. After tweaking this recipe just a bit, I’ve found a winner. The batter was spot on as is – very good. The only caution I would throw out to you is that the frying part is a bit time consuming if you don’t own a deep fryer. Otherwise, it’s super easy to make.
You’ll notice that I suggest using either chicken breast or chicken thighs to make this dish; I was recently reading that true Chinese cuisine uses the more flavorful dark meat. Truthfully, I’ve never noticed but will try to take note next time we order out. I used breast meat for this dish and it turned out very well.
Recipe adapted from Blog Chef
- 2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts or boneless thighs , cut into 1 inch pieces
- Oil for deep frying
For the batter:
- 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg plus 1 egg white
For the sauce:
- 1.5 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons green onion (white part only)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Green onions (green parts) (optional for garnish)
- Sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
For the cornstarch slurry
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of cold water
Combine all the batter ingredients, cover and set aside for 30 minutes
Begin heating oil to about 350 degrees.
Coat chicken pieces in the batter and then fry in small batches until golden brown
After frying, drain chicken on plate lined with paper towel
To make sauce, heat oil in wok and add ginger, garlic, and green onion.
Cook over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine
Bring sauce to a gentile simmer and prepare the cornstarch slurry by combining the ingredients into a thin paste
Gently pour the slurry into the simmering sauce and continue cooking for a minute to 2 until thickened; do not overcook as the cornstarch will begin to break down after a few minutes. The slurry must be made with cold water.
Garnish with green onions (green part) and sesame seeds if desired.