Chiu Chow Lemon Chicken

Course : Chinese
Serves: 4
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8 piece chicken breasts -- boned and skinned
1 cup slivered almonds
1 bunch chives
4 cloves garlic -- finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel -- or: finely minced lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
-----to finish-----
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation / Directions:

ADVANCE PREPARATION: Dip each chicken breast in water and then gently flatten with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the breast increases in size by about one-third. Set aside. Toast the almonds in a 325F oven until light golden, then set aside. Mince the chives and set aside. Combine the garlic and ginger and set aside. In a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients and mix well. LAST-MINUTE COOKING: Combine the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water. Preheat the oven to warm. Place a small non-corrosive skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon cooking oil and then garlic and ginger. Sauté briefly, then add the sauce. Bring to a low boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with a little salt and pepper. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess. Place a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When hot, add the butter and remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. When the butter bubbles, pan-fry 3 or 4 chicken pieces at a time. Cook for about 1 minute on each side. The chicken is done when the meat turns color and feels firm to the touch (do not overcook). Transfer the chicken to a heated platter or dinner plates and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining chicken. Bring the sauce back to a low boil and stir in a little of the cornstarch mixture to lightly thicken it. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the almonds and chives on top. Serve at once.

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