Eight years ago I made a batch of Meyer lemon marmalade that did not thicken properly. Not wanting to waste it, I used it to create my Sticky Lemon Marmalade Chicken and we have been enjoying it ever since. The marmalade gives the dish a tart, almost bitter flavor, but it is tamed by sugar. Soy sauce, garlic, and ginger add that distinctive Asian taste. We love this served over white rice or brown rice.
This is my updated recipe, now containing Bonus Content instructions for making your own quick lemon marmalade if you don't have any.
For the full recipe with quantities, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade - Meyer lemons bridge the gap between a sour lemon and a sweet orange. The marmalade gives this dish a sweet, tart, sticky sauce. If you don't have homemade Meyer lemon marmalade, buy a jar at the store and use that. If you can't find lemon marmalade, use orange and call this sticky orange chicken stir fry.
Chicken - I use chicken breast tenders but boneless, skinless thighs work well too.
Chili Sauce - use any kind you like with whatever heat you want.
Soy Sauce - Use low sodium if possible.
Garlic - Use fresh garlic, not garlic powder if at all possible. I used frozen fresh crushed garlic. You can buy it in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. They also offer ginger and a host of other herbs. They are so convenient in little individual cubes. I have Dupuytren's contracture in my hands, making chopping small things dangerous. These little frozen cubes, made by Dorot Gardens are fantastic. One cube equals one clove of garlic!
If you have a good wok, definitely use it to make this dish. If not, a good cast iron pan or large skillet will work.
Sliver the scallions and soak in iced water if you like them curly. Optional.
Mix the marmalade, sugar, salt, soy sauce, and chili sauce in a small jar.
Cube the chicken and pour 1 tablespoon of oil over it in a bowl. Mix to coat.
Heat the wok over medium heat with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
Cook the garlic and ginger over low-medium heat until fragrant. Don't burn!
Add the onions and cook until they soften.
Add the chicken to the wok over medium-high heat and toss with onions.
Spread the chicken in an even layer and let cook until light brown on one side.
Toss the chicken continuously to cook through.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and continue to cook, tossing constantly.
Remove the cooked chicken and onions from the wok leaving the sauce.
Cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens slightly. Pour into a bowl.
Serve the chicken over rice with sauce on top, with scallion curls and sesame seed garnish & extra sauce on the side.
If not eating immediately, put rice and chicken in a baking dish. Save sauce in a bowl. Freeze or refrigerate for later.
Sticky Lemon Marmalade Chicken
- Small saucepan
- Mesh sieve
- Medium bowl
- Wok or large skillet
- ½ cup lemon or orange marmalade
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 12-14 ounces) cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil divided
- 2 large cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger more if you like ginger
- ½ medium sweet white onion cut into 1" dice
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce (if you like a little heat)
- 1 scallion sliced, as garnish
- 2 cups hot cooked steamed white rice
If using jarred marmalade:
- Heat the marmalade on the stove over low heat until melted. Add a little water if it doesn't thin out when heated.
- Pour the marmalade through a fine mesh strainer reserving the liquid. You can use the rind portion as a garnish or just discard it. Set the marmalade "liquid" aside to be used in the next step.
If using quick marmalade from Bonus Content below.
- The cooled liquid from the marmalade can be used just as it is. continue to next step.
For the sauce:
- Mix the marmalade liquid, sugar, salt, soy sauce, and chili sauce in a small jar. Mix well and set aside.
For the stir-fry:
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and set aside.
- Heat your wok or skillet to medium-high heat. Pour the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil into the hot wok.
- Add the garlic and minced ginger. Stir just until they become fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
- Add the onion and cook with the garlic and ginger for an additional minute or two until the onion softens.
- Add the chicken and stir until it is cooked through and slightly browned. Make sure it is cooked through, but not too long or it will dry out.
- Pour the sauce around the edge of the pan and toss to mix with the chicken and onions.
- Stir for about a minute, until the sauce is combined with the chicken and slightly thickened. Be careful not to allow it to burn.
- Remove the chicken and onions to a bowl. Continue cooking the sauce until it thickens to your liking. Pour it out of the wok into a small bowl.
- Serve the chicken over steamed white rice and garnish with scallions.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.
We take every effort to ensure that the estimated meal cost per serving is accurate. We use a meal cost analysis application that estimates the cost of a recipe based on groceries purchased at a Walmart store in my geographical area, northern California.
How to Make a Quick Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Slice two Meyer lemons, removing the seeds. Measure ½ cup sugar.
Place the lemon seeds in a folded piece of gauze.
Bring up the edges of the gauze and tie it with the butcher's twine.
Place the lemons, sugar, and sachet of seeds in a medium saucepan.
Heat over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir while cooking for a minute.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook, checking frequently.
When the lemons are cooked remove the lid and cook to thicken the sauce.
Remove the pan from the heat when the sauce is thickened to your liking.
Pour the sauce through a mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the pulp and rinds.
Cool the liquid to room temperature. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Add back a few pieces of cooked peel for texture. Marmalade is ready to use.