(and it's gluten free, but I bet you couldn't tell!)
I have wanted to try making gluten free fried chicken for a while now. It seemed there were a few months that every time I turned on Food Network, someone was making fried chicken. At first I pouted - "but I can't have wheat!" And then it occurred to me that wheat flour is not the only option! So the wheels started turning...
I've tried making fried chicken before, and it never turned out the way I thought it should. The breading didn't stick, or it was soggy,and the chicken was dry. Well, all those Food Network cooking shows paid off. I got several tips from each show, and paid special close attention to the tips that more than one person mentioned.
- oil temperature. The oil has to be at 375 degrees when you drop your food into it. It will initially drop the temperature, which you'd like to be at about 360 for cooking. So starting at 375 is perfect. All of the cooks stressed this point.
- add salt immediately upon pulling out the fried food - while it's still hot, it pulls the salt in, creating a nice season - after the food cools it will tend to fall off.
- Brine the chicken. Only one of the cooks suggested this, but he was from the south so officially he gets my vote of confidence. I did do this and the chicken was super juicy on the inside.
- let the breaded chicken rest at room temperature for a few minutes before dropping in the fryer. Two different cooks brought this up. I forgot the details of the explanation, but it had something to do with helping the breading staying on the chicken. I guess cold chicken doesn't like it's breading as it goes into the hot oil.
- double dip - egg wash, flour, egg wash, flour. I didn't do this because I didn't want to use that much flour/starch. And I thought I'd try it the other way first to see how it turned out. It was fine without it but eventually I'd like to try it and see how it fares. (It was a tip from the "South Guy" again)
- use a deep, heavy pot as it will hold the temperature better, and of course prevent burns and messes from SPITTING GREASE!!! dun dun dun.
Here's what Cory and I had - Orange Chicken :) Yum. Recipe to follow. Here is the original recipe: "Panda Express Orange Chicken"
Here is the recipe with my changes:
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders, cut in 2 inch pieces
2 tsp salt
Canola Oil (for frying) - I used about a quart
3/4 cup potato starch or corn starch
1/2 cup rice flour (can use wheat flour)
1 Tb ginger root, peeled and minced
1 Tb garlic, minced or pressed
1 pearl onion, with green top (This is what was in my garden, I'm sure just green onions would be fine)
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 T thickener (I used Arrowroot, can use cornstarch)
-Orange Chicken Sauce-
1 1/2 T Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 1/2 T water
3 T agave nectar or 5 T sugar
5 T Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar or white distilled vinegar
Brine your chicken. Add it to a bowl of salt and water and let it sit for 1-2 days or, even just 30 minutes. Prepare flour mixture, mix well rice flour, potato starch, salt and pepper. Prepare Orange Chicken Sauce. I just put mine in a pickle jar and shook it up, so I could keep it in the fridge until I was ready to use it. (I prepared the flour mix and orange sauce earlier in the day)
When you're ready to cook... Heat your oil - make sure it reaches 375 degrees.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Peel and mince ginger, press garlic, chop onion and carrots.
Dip your chicken in the egg, then into the flour. Only flour a few pieces at at time and try to keep the liquid from the egg with the chicken - don't overwhelm your flour or you'll have a gloppy mess in your flour bowl. As you bread the chicken pieces, let them sit on a plate to "rest" at room temperature for a few minutes.
When you're done breading the last of the chicken, you'll be ready to start frying the first pieces. Don't crowd the pot or you'll drop the temperature too low. I put 5-8 pieces in at a time. Set the timer for 5-6 minutes. Once the pieces come out, cut one to check for doneness - it should be white, and juices should run clear. Salt immediately before it cools. Add the next batch until the chicken is all cooked and get to working on the sauce.
In another pan, sauté the garlic and ginger in a Tb of hot oil until fragrant (2-3 min), then add the onion and carrots. Stir fry those for 2-4 min, then deglaze the pan with the Orange sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the cooked chicken, and stir, coating it all over.
In a separate bowl, mix 1 Tb arrowroot (or cornstarch) with 1 1/2 cups water until it's all dissolved, add to pan, stirring and heat until sauce thickens.
Serve over brown rice and enjoy :-) We sure did.