Chefs' Recipes

Kylie Kwong's deep-fried chicken with finger-lime sauce

"Lemon chicken is one dish I don't look back at with nostalgia - there's no love lost there," says Kylie Kwong. "This is my interpretation, which steers well clear of the processed sauces from a jar."

By Kylie Kwong
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus steeping, drying
  • Serves 4
  • Print
I prefer to celebrate this country's native finger limes in what's become my riff on the old-school stalwart.


  • 1 chicken (1.6kg), rinsed and excess fat trimmed
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
White master stock
  • 500 ml Shaoxing wine (2 cups)
  • 100 gm ginger, thickly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and halved
  • 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
Finger-lime sauce
  • 80 gm white sugar
  • 1½ tbsp finely diced ginger
  • 125 ml lemon juice (½ cup)
  • 60 ml fish sauce, or to taste (¼ cup)
  • Flesh of 8 large finger limes


  • 1
    For white master stock, place all ingredients in a large stockpot with 3 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and gently simmer for the flavours to infuse (10-15 minutes).
  • 2
    Bring stock back to the boil, add chicken breast-side down and weight with a plate to keep submerged. Reduce heat to low-medium (there should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface) and poach for 14 minutes, then remove from heat and stand at room temperature for 3 hours to gently finish cooking (juices of chicken will run clear when a thigh is pierced with a skewer). Carefully remove the chicken from stock, being careful not to tear
    the skin, place on a tray and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 3 hours to allow the flesh to firm up and skin to dry out (the drier the skin, the crisper it will be when fried). This can be done a day ahead.
  • 3
    For finger-lime sauce, pound sugar and ginger to a paste with a mortar and pestle, then stir in lemon juice, fish sauce and finger lime.
  • 4
    Place the chicken breast-side up on a chopping board and cut through the centre of the breast with a sharp knife or cleaver, then cut through the breastbone. Separate the halves with your hands, then cut down either side of the backbone to separate into two halves.
  • 5
    Heat enough oil to cover half the chicken in a large wok over medium-high heat until surface starts to shimmer and oil reaches 190C. Carefully lower one chicken half into oil (be careful, hot oil will spit) and deep-fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp (6-8 minutes). Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining half. Cut into bite-sized pieces and serve hot drizzled with the finger lime sauce.
  • undefined: Kylie Kwong