In case you ate too much gluten-free licorice or carrot cake yesterday, I thought we should start off this week with a healthier recipe for a favorite gluten-free chicken dinner. … more
In case you ate too much gluten-free licorice or carrot cake yesterday, I thought we should start off this week with a healthier recipe for a favorite gluten-free chicken dinner. Maybe for tonight? There are a few Chinese restaurants not too far from where we live with safe & reliable gluten-free menus, and sesame chicken has always been a favorite. And not that I’m against fried food. But this gluten-free sesame chicken is sort of like a marriage of my gluten-free cornflake crusted chicken nuggets with a homemade version of sesame chicken sauce, and to be honest I feel a bit lighter after I eat this than I do after eating the (admittedly delightful restaurant fried dish). And also it gives me an excuse to use chopsticks. Not to brag but I’ve always been a bit of a chopsticks whiz. Okay fine I’m downright crackerjack at it. What I’m not so good at?
Teaching my oldest kid, who is nearly 11 and generally rather dextrous, to use chopsticks. Her form is good, but you can see how she sent her other hand in for reinforcements. And still, no go. Using chopsticks is kind of like tying a bow tie. There’s only so much technique you can teach. At some point, it’s just a go-with-it sort of situation.
Because I wanted to show you the best-lookin’ chicken that baked up crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, I went all the way in coating it: dry-wet-dry. I coated the chicken first in cornstarch, then dredged it in egg, and finally in gluten-free cornflake crumbs.
Even though it makes some gorgeous gluten-free chicken nuggets, it does take some extra time. Feel free to skip the cornstarch, pat your chicken dry with a paper towel, then go right for the egg-cornflake crumb duo.
Oh, and about those sesame seeds. Sometimes, I buy already-toasted sesame seeds. Sometimes, I have to toast them myself. Good news! It’s super easy to toast sesame seeds in a dry cast iron skillet (stainless steel will work, too – nonstick will not since you can’t get it hot enough without ruining your pan)! They will be pale as can be, and suddenly will begin to take on color. Just toss them in the skillet every now and again to keep them from sticking, and remove them from the heat as soon as they look lightly golden brown. Don’t go too far, or they’ll burn!
This is one of those dinners that my kids won’t eat until they exact a promise from me to make it again. What about you – do you promise to make it, and then make it again? Yup. It’s that good… [Next recipe on the blog? Healthy, refined-sugar-free, easy, flourless cookies.]
1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup (105 g) cornstarch (plus more if necessary)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup gluten-free cornflake crumbs, finely ground in a blender or food processor (plus more if necessary)
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) chicken stock (or a mixture of chicken stock and water)
3 tablespoons (26 g) cornstarch
4 tablespoons (84 g) honey
1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons (30 g) white balsamic vinegar (can substitute plain white wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons (45 g) gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons (21 g) toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash (1/8 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (plus more if necessary)
First, make the chicken. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Set up a coating station: one bowl with the cubed chicken, one with the cornstarch, a third bowl with the eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water, and a fourth with the ground cornflake crumbs, in that order. Next to the cornflake crumbs, place the prepared baking sheet. Dredge each piece of cubed chicken in the cornstarch, then in the eggs (allow excess to drip off), and finally in the cornflake crumbs. Place on the prepared baking sheet, with each piece of chicken about 1 inch from the next.
Place the chicken in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the chicken is opaque throughout (about 15 minutes). The chicken will be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. In a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the chicken stock and cornstarch, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and whisk to combine well. Cook the sauce over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture simmers and begins to thicken (about 5 minutes). The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Assemble the dish.Once the chicken is baked, toss in the sauce, serve over brown rice and sprinkle the chicken evenly with toasted sesame seeds.
P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I’ll help you make everything quick & easy & gluten-free!