Lemon chicken stir-fry

A sweet and tangy sauce stars in this healthy riff on the classic dish.

"Chinese takeout lemon chicken is normally deep-fried, but this healthy alternative uses much less oil and has a bright, citrusy flavor," says New York City-based chef Diana Kuan.

Serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
½ tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 lemons
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced or grated
½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size segments
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional, for serving)

1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sherry, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and stir gently to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Zest one of the lemons until you have about 2 tablespoons of zest. Juice the lemon until you have about 2 tablespoons of juice. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, sesame oil, and the remaining ½ tablespoon of soy sauce. Set aside.

3. Cut the remaining lemon into small wedges.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink on the outside, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green beans to the wok and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add the lemon juice mixture and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve:Transfer to a large platter, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and accompany with lemon wedges.

Also in this series: Chili Garlic Shrimp and Bok Choy and Cauliflower Fried Rice with Tofu