Anyone who knows me and knows a smidgeon about living gluten-free would understand my undying love for a certain chain of casual dining, quality-food Chinese restaurants. Needless to say, though I had been there once before my diet switch, it was the first on my list after I cut gluten out of my life. There is such a detailed routine to their gluten-free items, menu, preparation, and presentation that it takes much of the restaurant stress out of dining-out. Before and after losing the gluten, I ordered the Spicy Chicken dish on the menu. I’m a sucker for General Tso’s chicken and this fruity take was my instant favorite.
So it is not so surprising that I soon went looking for a recipe for recreating my favorite dish. I found countless recipes and knock-offs, but this one looked the most likely. Not too mention, I kept finding this recipe over and over again. That’s usually a pretty good sign. I also liked that I would not have to ‘use a flour mix’. Instead of breading the chicken in flour, this only coats them with cornstarch. That makes the end result very similar to the popular restuarant’s chicken. As mentioned, I found this recipe several different times. I, personally, followed it on Meemo’s Kitchen, the first time I tested the recipe, but, since then, her blog has been taken off line.
Can anyone guess the “secret ingredient”? I never would have. It wasn’t until I saw this fruity addition that I actually recognized the sweet flavor in the sauce…But, with further adieu:
Restaurant-Style Asian Spicy Chicken (P.F. Chang’s Knock-Off)
·2 tsp oil (canola, vegetable, or coconut)
·1½ Tbsp garlic, minced
·3 green onions, sliced
·1 c. pineapple juice
·1 Tbsp sriracha chili sauce
-1 Tbsp sweet-chili or garlic-chili sauce
·2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
·4 tsp white sugar
·1 tsp tamari
·2 Tbsp water
·1 tsp cornstarch
·2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
·⅓ cup cornstarch
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion for a few seconds, until fragrant, then add pineapple juice, sriracha sauce, sweet chili sauce, vinegar, sugar, and tamari.
Whisk 1 teaspoon cornstarch intp 2 tablespoons water and add it to the other sauce ingredients in the pan. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until beginning to thicken. Remove from heat.
In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil in the pan over medium heat. Toss chicken pieces with cornstarch in a bowl until all pieces are evenly coated. Sauté chicken in the oil, flipping every few minutes until all sides are light brown. Do not overcrowd the pan. Remove chicken to a plate and drain excess oil with paper towels. OR place chicken pieces on a baking pan, mist lightly with cooking oil spray and bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Allow chicken to cool slightly, then pour chicken pieces into the saucepot. Toss with sauce until all pieces are coated.
Serve with cooked brown or white rice, a la classic restaurant presentation.
For extra vegggies and vitamins, or just to mix things up a little, try sauté-ing pineapple chunks and chopped red pepper, or even snow peas (as I did in the photo) while the chicken is baking/frying, and adding the vegetables to the sauce when mixing in the chicken.
This year’s Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had unexpected visits from a few of my friends from high school. Their presence was very much appreciated, as we had more than enough food for six people, let alone the four that we had initially planned on. Everything went off without a hitch. That entire table you see is gluten-free (excluding the stuffing in the metal bowl on the bottom right). It was such a relief to know that I wouldn’t be paying for such delicious food in a few hours.
My Pepperidge Farms knockoff homemade gluten-free stuffing was perfect! In fact, it won over my mother: we can use my (entirely gluten-free) next year, inside the bird. So next year’s holiday really will be completely free of gluten.
Thanksgiving table 2011
Knock-off Pepperidge Farm’s Cornbread Stuffing (gluten-free!)
- – 1 batch Old Fashioned Cornbread, cubed (about 4 cups)
- – 8-10 slices of gluten-free whitebread, cubed (about 2-3 cups) (I used Udi’s)
- – 1 c. chopped onion
- – 1 c. chopped celery
- – 3-3 1/2 c. chicken broth*
- – 6 Tbsp butter, melted
- – 2 Tbsp poultry seasoning OR 1 tsp each: marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, onion powder, & parsley
- -1 tsp (additional) onion powder
- -2 tsp paprika
- -salt & pepper to taste
My stuffing is in the center, behind the bottle of red wine. As I mentioned, I used Nicole Hunn’s Old Fashioned Cornbread recipe (which is naturally gf!), baked thin, as a base. I also added about half a loaf of Udi’s white bread. I chopped both breads into small cubes, and let them sit uncovered on the counter fr three days to dry out. The afternoon before Thanksgiving, I placed the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a 150 degrees F oven for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You want the bread to be very dry.
On the morning of Thanksgiving, place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 Tbsp of the melted butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add your chopped onion and celery. Sauté vegetables until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Pour remaining melted butter over bread along with cooked vegetables. Stir to incorporate. Return saucepan to heat, add in chicken stock and all spices. Cook for about 10 minutes, until broth is hot and spices are fragrant. Slowly pour broth over bread cubes, mixing constantly. Once all broth is soaked in, loosely stuff mixture into Turkey cavity for proper stuffing. Cook turkey according to package directions for “stuffed bird”. Or spoon mixture into baking dish or crockpot for dressing. In baking dish, cook dressing for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. In crockpot, cook dressing on low for 4-6 hours. If able, baste dressing periodically through cook time with drippings from turkey pan.
*Use the greater amount of broth if you are cooking the mixture outside of the bird, as a dressing, or if you prefer a very wet dressing. Stuffing will absorb some juices from the turkey, and needs a little less broth initially.