I put out an open call online the other day for dishes people would like to see converted to dairy, gluten and sugar free. I got half a dozen ideas. Michelle wanted Chinese food. I suggested sweet & sour chicken, she wanted orange chicken so I compromised and made sweet and sour chicken with mandarin oranges and black cherry juice. 🙂
The fried chicken was crunchy and very flavorful and the sauce was a good mixture of tart and sweet. This can certainly be made with pineapple instead of mandarin oranges (or both). I cooked two cups of short-grained white rice in 5 1/3 cups of water with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil. The recipes made enough for myself, my two housemates plus leftovers for me to freeze for days I’m physically unable to cook.
I did pretty well getting everything cooked at the same time, though my rice was finished before the chicken. I put the rice on the stove to cook, made the sauce and let it simmer while I fried the chicken pieces in three batches. Next time I’ll manage my time better, at least everything was still hot when I served it.
Sugar Free Black Cherry Sweet & Sour Sauce
2 1/2 cups black cherry juice, no sugar added variety
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup dark agave nectar (or more to taste)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
20 oz can mandarin orange slices, drained (I used ones in 100% juice)
2 Tbs corn starch
Set aside 1/2 cup black cherry juice in a small bowl. In a medium saucepot combine 2 cups black cherry juice, rice wine vinegar, agave nectar, bell pepper and red onion. Simmer on low until onions and bell peppers are cooked through. Mix the remainder of cherry juice and corn starch together and add the slurry to the sauce. Stir until thickened, about a minute. Add mandarin oranges and simmer until orange slices are heated through. Remove from heat and serve over rice.
Gluten Free Fried Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
Enough light oil to cover the bottom of a deep frying pan with an inch of oil (I used grapeseed oil)
In a shallow pan or bowl, combine rice flour, corn starch, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well with a fork. Put the beaten egg in another shallow bowl. Set up a dredging station with egg bowl, flour bowl and a wire rack with parchment (or waxed) paper underneath it. Pour oil into deep frying pan and heat on medium high until it reaches 350* F. While oil is heating, dip the chicken pieces in the egg and then dredge in the flour and corn starch mixture. Shake off as much extra breading as possible and lay on wire rack to dry. Once oil reaches the proper temperature, carefully put the chicken pieces in the oil with either a fork or tongs. Cook on each side for 5 to 7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken) or until each side is golden brown. Adjust temperature of burner often to keep oil at an even 350* F. Remove chicken from oil and drain on a plate covered in two paper towels.