My World-Famous Gluten Free Crispy Crunchy Chicken Sticks! (with homemade ketchup)
Well, not world-famous just yet perhaps. But I’m pretty sure they will be after today!
Forget Chicken Nuggets – These are decidedly better (not to mention healthier)!
I’ve had a few requests for dinner recipes. Although it might seem as though all I eat is cake and baked goods, that is actually not the case. In our home we cook a full-blown dinner from bare bottom scratch every single night.. phew. Partly because we have no choice at present, but also because we both love cooking a great deal, and because we feel it is important to avoid processed ready-foods where we can. The main reason these meals seldom end up on the blog is A) because we eat them. Fast. And B) because I am merely a layman as far as photography is concerned, and night-time shots are quite frankly pushing it a bit. I will get a better camera. One day.
However, today I decided to go out on a bit of a limb and cook one of our favorite dinners around breakfast time, just so you could get a break from cakes and biscuits. After all, making this world more Gluten-Freendly surely involves healthy meals. Especially the kind that makes us feel as normal as the next guy, and what better way to go about that than to recreate a good old favourite fast-food staple!
But firstly; I feel a bit embarrassed..
Is it ever so for you, that the one time you decide to get something done once and for all, some necessary element decides to venture into a catastrophic break-down, making it impossible for you to finish?
Well hello major camera malfunction.
After a long process of getting to the shops to buy ingredients, cooking dinner for breakfast and eventually setting up for a shoot (which isn’t really done in 5 minutes, especially when everything is DIY), I get through a short series of test shots before the camera beeps and blacks out. Nothing major, only an empty battery. Although this seemingly minor issue becomes a giant pain in the tush when the nearest battery pack and charger is on the other side of town at the house of someone who’s not even home.
So there you have it, today you get Crispy Chicken Sticks served with a side of sloppy test shots. Good thing they’re totally awesome (the chicken that is)!
This is one of those recipes that are born out of dumb luck. I just happened to make awesome crispy chicken bites one day, and I also happened to remember how I made them. That last bit doesn’t happen all too often.. Well, now we just LOVE these little golden nuggets in our home, and I always make extras so my better half can take the leftovers to work the next day. Amazingly they stay crispy through 12 hours of fridge-time, a 4 hour work day and a 2 minute microwave re-heat. Still awesome!
I promise your kids will love them, and if you serve them up take-away style in a paper bag with this incredible homemade tomato sauce (ketchup), they will forget the usual Chicken McNo-Goods in a flash!
For two people you’ll need:
- One large or two small chicken breasts (I much prefer the hormone free, pastured, organic variety)
- 1 free range egg pastured (if you can’t use egg, just dip them in some water, milk or other liquid)
- 1/2 cup of rice bubbles – the crispy kind (I use gluten-free natural brown rice bubbles from Flannery’s)
- 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour (Make your own – Easily!)
- 1/8 cup ground rice
- 1 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s gluten-free)
- Salt & pepper to taste
Lightly whisk the egg in one bowl, and mix all the dry ingredients in an other.
Slice the chicken fillet lengthways in half so you end up with two slim fillets. Cut these into bite-size pieces or “sticks”
In the meeantime heat a pan with some oil. A tablespoon should do. More oil gives better crisp, but the less the healthier. It’s really a balance you’ll have to decide on yourself. In any case, at least it’s not deep-fried.
Dip the pieces first in the egg, then the flour/crisp mixture. Start frying only when they’re all covered or you’ll have some hot and some cold.
I usually lay them out on paper towel when they come off the pan, just to soak up any excess oil.
For the tomato sauce you need:
(recipe from Jamie at home: Food Network) Note: the ketchup is NOT failsafe!
- 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- Thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 a fresh red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
- Bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 cloves
- Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound amazing cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 1 pound canned plum tomatoes, chopped or 2 pounds yellow, orange or green tomatoes, chopped
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
Place all the vegetables in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a big splash of olive oil and the ginger, garlic, chili, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.
Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.
Add the basil leaves, then whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice, to make it smooth and shiny. Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.
Spoon the ketchup through a sterilized funnel into sterilized bottles, then seal tightly and place in a cool dark place or the refrigerator until needed – it should keep for 6 months
(I’ve borrowed this recipe, you can find the original here)
Together these two recipes make absolute magic! All of a sudden everyone can enjoy a super fresh and healthy Crispy Chicken Treat. Especially for coeliac kids this will be a welcome addition. I’d venture to say that you could easily put them hot into a thermo-container and stage a full take-out experience for the whole family! Why not make some yummy Fries to go with it? Visit Thank Heavens’ Pinterest Board “Potato Perfection” for plenty of brilliant potato recipes!
How do you deal with fast-food and coeliac disease?