Wai Ying-Inspired Lemon Chicken Rice

Crispy deep-fried chicken thighs are coated in a tart lemon sauce that tastes as bright as it looks.
4 servings
Prep Time
10 Mins
Active Time
45 Mins

This recipe remakes a Lasallian lunch favorite: Wai Ying’s Lemon Chicken Rice. While some Chinese restaurants will use cut-up chicken pieces, Wai Ying takes boneless chicken thighs and treats it like a porkchop—battered, deep-fried until golden, then sliced into thin strips.

Lemon Sauce

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice concentrate
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring, optional
  • salt, to taste


  • 500g boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup potato starch or rice flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • neutral oil, for frying

For Garnish

  • lemon slices
  • green onion, thinly sliced

Make lemon sauce: Combine lemon juice concentrate and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Add slurry to the sauce and cook until slightly thickened, 2–3 minutes. Season with salt and add food coloring, if using. Keep warm while you cook the chicken.


Prepare for frying: Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet to 350°F.


Prepare breading station: Add all-purpose flour to a bowl for dredging the chicken. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites and salt. In a third bowl, combine rice flour, all-purpose flour, and powdered sugar.


Fry chicken: Pat boneless chicken thighs dry. Working one piece at a time, bread the chicken in this order: dredge in flour, dip in egg whites, then toss in flour-sugar mix until evenly coated. Shake off excess breading then fry until golden and crispy, about 5–8 minutes. Rest cooked chicken on a metal rack or a heatproof plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.


Serve: Transfer chicken to a serving platter or divide between plates. Spoon lemon sauce over the chicken. Garnish with lemon slices and sliced green onions. Serve with steamed rice.