When my mom heard I was blogging, she had a request for me. “Please make gluten free sesame chicken. I miss it!” her text read. Well, it’s pretty easy to make sesame chicken gluten free when you omit the crunchy coating, which is most often thanks to a flour and egg batter, a no-no for those with sensitivity to gluten, or people like my mom (and a few extended family members) who suffer from the more severe autoimmune disorder, Celiac disease. My mom was diagnosed just a few years ago, and she’s said that it’s a lot of trial and error to find good GF substitutes of favorite dishes that are now off-limits.
Luckily, I stumbled upon a method using eggs and cornstarch (please please please make sure that you are using pure cornstarch from a brand that is certified gluten free. Bob’s Red Mill, Argo & Kingsford’s are good choices.) to make a kind of faux breading. These faux breaded chicken pieces get pan fried in a little grape seed oil, and then are coated with a sweet, sticky sesame sauce and bam! Gluten free sesame chicken that is a pretty darn good contender for the take out favorite!
This is the chicken about halfway through the cooking process. The cornstarch and egg mixture allows for a kind of “faux” breading that mimics that crunchy, deep fried coating without the gluten and the guilt!
Naturally, sesame chicken (and lots of Asian dishes) requires soy sauce. Soy is another no-go for Celiacs and the gluten intolerant, but a simple swap for tamari is all you need. Tamari is actually quite popular in Japanese cooking, and relatively easy to find at your grocery store. Mine carries it in the organic section. Tamari’s flavor can be a little more intense than regular soy sauce, so I used a little less than I would normally if I were using soy sauce. A little ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and the sauce is done.
Add a little steamed broccoli and some rice and you’ll have a beautiful takeout inspired meal in no time!
This one’s for you, mom!
gluten free sesame chicken.
inspired and adapted from budget bytes.
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into chunks
1.5 tablespoon GF cornstarch
pinch of salt and pepper
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dry sherry
2-3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons low sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons coconut palm or brown sugar (use up to 4 tablespoons depending on how sweet you like it)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon GF cornstarch
3 tablespoons of peanut or grape seed oil, for cooking
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
2 cups cooked brown jasmine rice
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch, sherry, salt, pepper and egg until combined. Add chicken and mix together until thoroughly coated.
Add two tablespoons to a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering and heated but not smoking, add chicken pieces. Cook the chicken, stirring only occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and a deep golden brown. This should take about 7-10 minutes. Drain off excess oil if needed and transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.
While the chicken is cooking, add the sauce ingredients (tamari, rice vinegar, chicken stock, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger and garlic) into a small bowl and whisk together until everything is combined and the cornstarch dissolves. Taste and add more tamari or sugar if you think the sauce needs more bite or sweetness.
Add the sauce into a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
Add chicken back to the wok and pour the sauce over the chicken. Stir together to combine and cook over low heat until the sauce is thickened and sticks to the chicken. Turn off heat.
Serve over brown jasmine rice (YUM) and steamed broccoli.