I have fond memories of Chinese food: eating Chinese at the mall food course while shopping for back to school clothes with my mom, picking up dinner from the little hole-in-the-wall near the college where John and I met (best Mongolian beef ever), and late night dinners with my fellow tax accounting friends each March.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to find a Chinese restaurant (other than P.F. Changs and Pei Wei) that has a gluten free menu. But, that is no reason to get down in the dumps. Instead, we make delicious (and completely unhealthy) Chinese food at home =)
Our current favorite is Honey Chicken, and since we’ll take any excuse to eat it, I decided to introduce the meal to my parents while we visited with them last week.
Now, my mom is not a lover of ethnic foods. But, she insisted that I share this recipe on the blog because she really loved it. She even reminded me to take a picture of it when I heated up the leftovers for John’s lunch the next day. So, you all have my sweet mom to thanks for this recipe.
I should note that I started with this recipe, but I’ve significantly simplified the recipe and made it gluten free, which makes it okay to share with you =)
Gluten Free Honey Chicken
8 small chicken breasts
large quantity of oil for frying
8 oz. Gluten Free Bisquick
5 oz. gluten free cornstarch
12 oz. water
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. Riesling
3 fluid oz. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. gluten free tamari
6 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. gluten free cornstarch
1/4 c. water
2 1/2 c. white rice, uncooked
5 c. water
Step 1: Put the rice and water into a large covered pot over high heat until the water begins to boil. Immediately turn the heat down to the lowest setting and set a timer for 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and then re-cover until time to serve.
Step 2: Prep the chicken by trimming off all fat and cutting the chicken breasts into pieces that are approximately 1″ square.
Step 3: Heat the frying oil in a large steep-sided skillet (a stockpot will work in a pinch) until it is 350 degrees F.
Step 4: Prepare the batter for the chicken by mixing all of the batter ingredients together in a large bowl. Then add the chicken to the batter and stir so that each piece is coated with batter.
Step 5: Drop individual pieces of chicken into the hot oil, being sure to spread them out and not crowd the pan. Fry the chicken until it begins to brown and then remove the chicken to a platter lined with paper towels or paper grocery bags. You’ll have to fry several batches of the chicken, so be patient =)
Step 6: Mix the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Turn the heat off or to low until time to serve.
Step 7: Now it’s time to put everything onto the plates. Start with a large mound of rice. Top that with pieces of fried chicken. Drizzle the honey sauce over the top. Let everyone add additional tamari and honey at the table, if they like.
While delicious, this recipe is not quick. I’ve arranged the steps above in the order in which I think that they’re most efficient. However, delegation is your best best for speeding things up and John plays sous chef when he asks for this dish on Saturday nights. So, if you have a sous chef, here’s how we do things:
1. I prep the chicken while John starts the rice.
2. I mix the batter while John gets the oil started heating.
3. I fry the chicken while John makes the sauce, fixes me a glass of wine and holds Lucy who is by now protesting that Mama is not paying enough attention to her. If you don’t have a precious two year old that wants to be held, feel free to take turns with the frying =)
I don’t usually list the brand names of ingredients, but in this recipe I feel that it’s important. The batter recipe does need to be leavened, so I use Gluten Free Bisquick as a small shortcut. I only use cornstarch that has a gluten free label, and we tested this recipe with Argo cornstarch. San-J’s gluten free tamari is certified gluten free and I refuse to use any other tamari or soy sauce.
The original recipe, which I’ve altered significantly, called for rice wine and rice wine vinegar. I do not always keep these ingredients on hand, and we have tested the recipe several times with a riesling and cider vinegar and did not notice any significant difference in the finished sauce.
If you cannot buy Gluten Free Bisquick, then replace with a gluten free flour mix + 1/4 tsp. baking soda + 1/4 tsp. baking powder.