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Jul 29, 2008 10:55 AM

What kind of oil?

I am making this recipe for lemon chicken later in the week.
It calls for deep frying or wok frying. I am opting to do it in the wok, but have never really fried chicken before. I don't have any oil in the house other than evoo and am wondering what kind of oil to pick up for this. Also, if someone could give me a rundown of what to do, how hot to heat the oil, how much to put in the wok, how long it should take, I'd REALLY appreciate it.
I am wondering if this could somehow be done in the oven, but am sure it would require a different coating in order to get crispy. Any pointers for this?
Thanks so much!

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  1. I'd use peanut oil. If you're going to fry in a wok just fill it up a couple of inches and heat to 350 then do small batches. That way you don't use too much oil which can be pricey.

    I bet you can do it in the oven if you coat the chicken in panko bread crumbs after you remove from batter and then spray with a vegetable oil cooking spray.

    1. The typical choice here would be peanut oil. Get the kind that looks like regular vegetable oil, and not the expensive stuff that is cold-pressed and slightly darker in color. Most supermarkets don't even carry the expensive kind anyway. I usually grab a 48 oz size for frying (but I usually get canola, which is a controversial choice for several reasons).

      If you do use the wok, and you plan on also using the wok to do the remainder of the recipe, remember that you will need to remove a lot of oil from the wok to continue the recipe. I pour the hot (yes, dangerously crazy, but I'm impatient) oil off into another pan, save for a T or two which I leave in the wok to continue cooking with. If I am being more sensible, I use a regular stainless pot for the deep-frying, and then use the wok to finish the recipe. That way I can leave the hot oil by itself, all happy and safe in the pot to cool off.

      If you do stick with the wok, you probably want to do the chicken in half-pound batches, depending on how much oil you use and the size of your wok. When I use a pan, I usually have a minimum of over a quart of oil in it to deep-fry, and I use batches. If your oil temp takes a 40+ degree F nosedive when you add a batch of food, use a smaller batch in the future. BTW, that 48oz bottle is 1.5 quarts. If you use 1.5 quarts, do NOT merely use a 2quart pan!!! That would be too small. Remember the oil will bubble a lot when you add the food. Only put the oil into a pan where it only goes half-way up the sides.

      Use a candy-thermometer to be sure your oil is 350 (the recipe states). Thus, he/she is not merely velveting the chicken and partway cooking it, as is common for Chinese food. They are fully cooking it at a higher temp, which is a different technique.

      1 Reply
      1. re: saltwater

        Oops, I looked at my post again and realized I started using the word "pan" part way through. I use a pot, not a pan, for deep frying. By pot I mean something that has high sides. Pans are usually flattish sorts of things. Sorry!

      2. I second the peanut oil and it's really less expensive if you can buy it at an Asian market.

        Anyway, add *about* 2 cups oil to the wok....when you add the chicken the oil level will rise so leave plenty of room...also, add the chix very carefully cuz it will spatter! .
        After adding the oil wait a bit till it to get it hot then begin, as BW said, to fry the chicken in batches. If you add too many pieces into the wok at the same time you'll end up steaming the chicken.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Thanks for responding everyone! I didn't even notice she had specified 350. Woops! If I decided to try to do some in the oven, dipping in batter then coating in panko, how long and at what temperature would you suggest? I'm thinking of doing half fried and half in the oven just to compare and am hoping the healthier baked version turns out.

          1. re: ArikaDawn

            I think you'll have to watch those boneless, skinless one inch chicken breast cubes like a hawk so they won't over cook. They'll be covered in batter and Panko; so I think go for the oven temp at 400*, for about 15-ish minutes. But honestly, I'd just put them in the wok. Watch them, take them out with a spider just as they are turning golden. Good Luck and let us know how it all turns out.

        2. I followed the advice given here and it worked out tremendously. I used peanut oil and fried the chicken in my wok at 350. I opted to not even try baking any of the chicken this time around, and after tasting it, I'm glad I didn't.

          This was my first time ever frying anything. My sister, just before I was born, pulled a fry daddy down onto herself and got some burns. Twenty-two years after the event and the thought of frying still seems quite dangerous. Anyhow, I went into the meal prep. convinced I was going to be permanently disfigured, but it was not as bad as I thought.

          The directions on the blog were pretty straightforward. Her batter is not supposed to be crispy, but I found the the thought of crispy coating much more appealing than a softer coating. I did half the chicken according the the recipe, and the other half dipped in the batter and then tossed with flour for a crispier result. For this particular dish, the original batter, the softer one, is much nicer. The lemon sauce is subtle and it doesn't need the competition of a crispy coating.

          The frying itself probably only took about 3 minutes per batch. I only used about an inch of oil and flipped each piece halfway through. The chicken turned out cooked perfectly and still super moist. The sauce was undoubtedly the star of the show though. I used 3 tbsp. lemon juice instead of the 2 called for, skipped the addition of oil to the sauce, and cut the sugar down to 1/4c. per the comments from other people who have made it. The result was a lightly sweet thickish lemony sauce that was just heaven on the chicken and even more heavenly on the broccoli.

          I will be making the sauce again and again. It is just what I have been looking for for veggie stir-frys. I don't think I'll be frying again any time soon though. It worked out really well, and effectively demystified the whole process, but I tend to cook very healthily and this does not qualify. I also found it to be a bit messy, labor intensvie(probably only because I'm a newbie), and I can not stand my house smelling like something has been fried in it. I am pleased though to know, if the occasion ever arises, it is possible to do it at home. Oh, and for anyone who loves chinese lemon chicken, this is definitely a recipe you should give a shot. It's a winner.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ArikaDawn

            I'm glad it was what you were hoping for. Great shot of it bubbling away in the wok!