Friday, 31 January 2014

Popcorn Chicken

The other night I was stuck for inspiration over what to cook for dinner - I usually have loads of ideas that I want to try, but then there are some nights where the there is a serious lack of ability to decide what to do! So I asked hubby if he had any requests involving chicken. His request? Popcorn chicken! Um, ok! Turns out it didn't eventuate that night - bit of a problem with the fridge mean that the chicken I was going to use had a funky kind of odor so it went straight in the bin and dinner consisted of frantically throwing together whatever I could find in the freezer! But, a couple of nights later, I tried again…this time with odorless chicken (the best kind!!).

I must apologize for the really awful photos of this meal - was running REALLY behind schedule!

The end result was pretty darn good if I do say so myself, and both hubby and the kids were suitably impressed. Hubby even decided it would rate in his top 10 - high praise indeed! The chicken itself is gluten, grain, dairy, nut, soy and sugar free. I served it with coleslaw, homemade potato and kumara chunky chips and sweetcorn for the kids. You can serve how you like, and choose whichever yummy dipping sauces take your fancy. If you don't eat corn for whatever reason (such as anyone with digestive issues like me, or those people following the paleo eating plan), simply omit and replace with another vegetable you prefer. My kids and hubby love corn, so I served it for them, and I simply had a double helping of coleslaw - yum! Likewise for the potato chips - if you don't eat potatoes either just make kumara chips, or use another vegetable of your choice.

The coleslaw was a lazy girls version, made from one of the coleslaw packs a the supermarket (minus the dressing they provide of course!). I then upgraded it by adding tomato, avocado, sweet pea shoots and a homemade dressing made with capsicum and garlic (recipe also below).

Popcorn Chicken 

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

800g chicken thigh or breast (boneless, skinless), trimmed and cut into small chunks about 2cmx2cm
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp each of turmeric and garlic powder
1/2 tbsp each of ground cumin, paprika, salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp chilli powder (optional, but very yummy!)
2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
coconut oil for frying

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and coconut aminos (or soy). In another bowl, combine the coconut flour, turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper (and chilli if using). Mix well to ensure evenly combined
3. Add the chunks of chicken to the bowl containing the egg (best to do it in 2 batches, so just start with half). Remove from the egg dip and place the chicken in the bowl with the flour/spice mix (this is a messy job, but that's half the fun!)
4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium/high heat.
5. Place coated chicken in the pan and fry until golden, turning often to ensure even browning. At this stage, the chicken doesn't have to be cooked through, just golden on the outside
6. Place chicken on the baking tray (repeat steps 3-5 if you have done 2 batches) then when all chicken is on the tray, place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes until cooked through (cooking time will vary depending on how big you cut your pieces of chicken, so be sure to check often - if you overcook it the chicken will be dry)
7. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce of your choice, homemade chunky chips and salad of your choice.

I used chicken thigh as I prefer the added flavor and moisture it gives, but breast would work just as well.

Capsicum and Garlic Salad Dressing (or dipping sauce)

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free

1 red caspicum, roughly chopped
3 cloved garlic, peeled
2 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/8-1/4 cup water (optional depending on how runny you want your dressing - runnier works best for salad dressing, but you can omit the water if you are using as a dipping sauce)

1. Blend together all ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.
2. Pour over salad, or put in a small bowl to use for dipping