Lemon Tofu (or chicken)
It’s almost spring. The buds on trees are finally started bloom, including my lemon tree which is covered in buds and baby lemons!
I love lemons and use them in so many recipes. What do you think, should I add a “lemon” category to the menu bar?
Anyway, I have made a version of this lemon sauce for chicken, tofu, and vegetables for many years. I finally got around to actually paying attention and measuring my ingredients. The image above is tofu mixed with broccoli and peas and the image below is chicken with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
This is my play on the lemon chicken that you can find in many Chinese restaurants. However, the chicken I usually get is too sweet for my tastes. My version is more on the tart, slightly spicy side. And, it is kid-approved!
I treat chicken and tofu very similarly in this dish. I start with a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts or a pound of tofu. For the chicken, pat it dry and thinly slice it. For the tofu, press it, pat it dry, and cut it into approximately one-inch cubes. Then dust the thinly sliced chicken or tofu cubes in cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Brown the chicken or tofu on both sides in a lightly oiled pan over medium-high heat.
While the chicken or tofu is browning, mix together lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, ground ginger, chili garlic sauce, toasted sesame oil, and a splash of rice vinegar. Pour the sauce over the chicken or tofu and cook for another minute or two, making sure the chicken is cooked through.
Serve over rice with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or thinly sliced scallions over the top if desired. Enjoy!
Lemon Tofu (or chicken)
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or firm tofu
- 2-3 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey (add a little extra for extra sweetness)
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (such as sriracha, add more or less or omit completely depending on your prefered spice level)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- splash of rice vinegar
- neutral oil
- sesame seeds or thinly sliced scallions (optional for topping)
- Chicken: pat the chicken dry and thinly slice. Toss with the cornstarch and pinch of salt.Tofu: press the tofu in a tofu press or underneat a heavy weight (a cast iron pan works well) and line with paper towels. Pat dry and cut into cubes. Toss with cornstarch and pinch of salt.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When hot, add the chicken or tofu in a single layer and leave alone to brown, flipping after about 3 – 4 minutes.
- While the chicken or tofu is browning, mix together the lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, and rice vinegar. When the chicken is cooked through, pour the sauce over and let it cook for an additional minute or two.
- Serve over rice with vegetables, sprinkle on sesame seeds or sliced scallions for garnish if desired. Enjoy!