Our neighbourhood takeout joint was Ming’s Kitchen; a 1970s Cantonese oasis for screaming, whining kids crazy for egg rolls.
For years, those hot, white plastic cylinders always contained the same order: wonton soup, chicken so gai or almond gai ding, moo goo gai pan, and of course, sweet and sour spareribs.
Curiously, the tender almond chicken is a treat we won’t outgrow. We’ll skip the deep-frying and the gravy cloak of cornstarch-thickened chicken broth and soy. Bright lemon sauce and a bed of braised bok choy sounds lovely.
ALMOND CHICKEN with lemon sauce
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, broken into pieces (try some ground coursely)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons water
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 400º. Place breadcrumbs in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Place almonds in a separate bowl, and set aside. Place eggs in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons water, and beat lightly. Dip chicken in egg mixture, wiping away excess with your fingers, and dip in breadcrumb mixture. Dredge until lightly coated. Dip in egg again, and then coat thoroughly with almonds.
Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté chicken until nicely browned, about 3 minutes, and turn over. Cook 1 minute more; then transfer pan to oven, and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
1 tablespoon slivered garlic
1 tablespoon slivered ginger
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
With pan on high heat, add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add stock, lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce and lemon rind. Bring to boil, add cornstarch mixture and sesame oil and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and toss with chicken.
Serve on bed of shredded crunchy iceberg lettuce or braised bok choy