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Chinese Lychee Chicken: A simple summer supper

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The lychee growing season may be coming to an end in Florida, but farmers’ markets in central New Jersey are still offering this small but tasty fruit.

Most people eat the lychee raw, after removing the prickly skin. It’s about the size of a grape, but its flesh is not quite as firm. The seed in the center of the fruit should not be eaten.

According to the Nutrition and You website, lychees are comparable in calories to grapes. In addition, the lychee fruit contains no saturated fat or cholesterol and is full of fiber, anti-oxidants and vitamins. More lychee nutrition information is available here.

While the lychee is usually enjoyed much like any other fruit eaten as a snack, it is also possible to cook with it. The following lychee chicken recipe is partially prepared outside on a grill, making it a great idea for a simple summer supper. The recipe is posted on Bill Mee and Krystal Folino’s Lychees Online website. This site is overflowing with other lychee recipes, as well as interesting information about the lychee.

Chinese Lychee Chicken (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon lychee juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup cold water
4 teaspoons corn starch
4 skinless chicken fillets
steamed white rice

Directions:

1. Combine sugar, soy sauce, lychee juice, lemon juice, oil, garlic, and ginger in a small saucepan.

2. Combine cold water with corn starch in a small bowl and stir until corn starch is dissolved. Add to saucepan and turn heat to high. Stir often while bringing mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

3. Preheat grill on high for the chicken.

4. When the grill is hot, rub each chicken piece with oil and cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until completely cooked. Chicken should have browned in spots.

4. When chicken is done, chop it into bite-size pieces. Pour the chicken pieces into a large frying pan over medium heat. Heat until chicken sizzles then reduce heat and cover chicken until ready to serve. Spoon chicken into a medium bowl, then pour all the sauce over the chicken and stir until well coated. Serve with steamed white rice.

Vegetables can be added directly to the chicken dish or served on the side. Carrots were added to the lychee chicken shown in the picture.

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