Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken (Gluten Free)

Whenever we go out for Chinese food, Michael ALWAYS orders sweet and sour chicken. And I always get jealous. Since I've been gluten free I've realized that Chinese restaurants are usually a risky choice for dining out. There's just no guarantee that what you are eating is gluten free, no matter how careful you've been in selecting your food. Trust me... I've learned the hard way!

And all this time, I had no idea that you could make that deliciously red, sweet and sour sauce right at home and it was so easy. No gluten. No food coloring. Simple ingredients. Easy. And a winner!

We've made this sweet and sour chicken several times now and I every time I simply smile... wishing I had learned how to make it sooner! Cornstarch is simply a miracle "flour!" It creates that gorgeous, silky red sauce that accompanies the chicken and veggies. And it's even better than the sauce at the Chinese restaurant!

The only thing I changed in making this recipe is how I prep the chicken.
I've never been a fan of frying chicken because it's just so darn messy, and this chicken was no exception! Now, instead of frying, I coat the chicken, spritz it with olive oil and bake it in the oven until it's nice and crispy. Fry or bake? It's up to you... just make this chicken and enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Chicken (Gluten Free)

1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2-6 tablespoons oil, for frying chicken
Non-stick cooking spray or olive oil for spritzing on chicken for baking

Coating Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic granules (like Spike)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons GF soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup


1. In a medium-sized container with a tight fitting lid, mix all coating ingredients together. Add chicken pieces, replace lid tightly, and shake to coat chicken.

2. To Fry Chicken: Add oil to a large, heavy bottomed skillet and heat oil over medium-hot heat. Drop in coated chicken, and fry until chicken pieces are browned and fully cooked. Drain on paper towels.
To Bake Chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spritz coated chicken with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through. (Can make sauce while chicken is baking!)

3. In a large saucepan, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Heat until mixture boils, whisking/stirring constantly. Mixture will appear reddish-gray at first, just continue to whisk until mixture turns a translucent, glassy, bright red color. It may take 5-10 minutes for this to occur. When mixture turns that wonderful shiny bright red color, take it off the heat. Pour over chicken pieces and toss to coat. Serve over cooked rice or pasta with sauteed veggies!


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  1. what a great recipe! i totally agree with you about eating out at chinese restaurants-- i keep wanting to, but know it's too risky. i love that you baked this and it turned out well. i made s&s chicken years ago (pre-gf) and i think it called for pineapple chunks and juice instead of sugar. have you tried it with any fruit? i can't wait to try this!

  2. Yuuuuum. Sounds like a quick and easy dinner! I don't think I've eaten sweet and sour sauce since going gf, so I can't wait to make this.

  3. Yum! Try using orange juice in place of the water for a yummy orange chicken!

  4. I'm drooling...Only one more thing to find - Crab Rangoons!

  5. Oh yum! THIS is on my list of things to try! I sure do miss my Chinese take out! :(

  6. That looks amazing! I have to try this!

    I didn't realize that you could bake it too. Very cool.

  7. BBG - Using pineapple juice or orange juice is a brilliant idea!! I will definitely try that next time, I'd love to leave the sugar out completely!! thanks for sharing!!

    Good Eatah -- thanks for commenting gal!! when is that wedding? I know you can't wait!

    Anonymous -- You are SO right... orange juice would be really yummy in place of the water! I'll definitely try that!

    meli and pat - NO KIDDING!!! I love me some crab rangoons!!! I'll have to work on that one!!

    Jeanine - this was really so fast and easy, that you won't miss the takeout!! ;-) Let me know if you try it!!

    JJ - baking the chicken is DEFINITELY the way to go! 1) YOu can make the sauce WHILE the chicken is baking and 2) It's SO much easier to clean up!! ;-)

  8. Seriously, Can we be friends?! LOL
    I totally loved loved loved ...did I say I LOVED to eat Chinese before finding that I needed to go GF.
    I have recently concocted a sorta Thai Peanut sauce with Rice Linguini just to satisfy with something similar.
    I am definitely going to give this S&S Chicken Recipe a whirl this week!!! I am excited to try it ! Thanks Girl!!!

  9. healthyfishies -- BTW.. I LOVE your name! lol that is so cute!! I can't WAIT to give your thai peanut sauce a try!! I LOVE peanut sauce!! Mmmmm!! Friends it is gal!! I'll take all I can gather!! Thanks for the great comment!! Come back and visit soon!!

  10. I love sweet and sour chicken!!! That and lemon chicken were my favorite dishes when I lived in China. I look forward to trying this out! Thanks for the recipe:)

  11. Wow, this looks amazing! Thanks for this. I'll have to make this for my wife who misses Chinese food.

  12. OH MY GOSH, GIRL! We totally loved this -YUM! I made it just as written (except I was out of brown rice flour -shame i know- and just used the whole 1c sweet rice flour) and baked the chicken... can you say "Dee-lish"?!?
    The guppies liked it so much they even fought over the last drop of sauce left in the serving bowl - LOL!! We even think the chicken bites resemble chicken nuggets a bit and can't wait to try them in other things...Kudos to you

  13. Mmm...this looks so tasty. I'll definitely have to give this a go. This could probably be modified to make orange chicken or lemon chicken. Yum!

  14. Yum! That looks soooo good. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  15. Carrie, I finally had a chance to make this tonight and it was amazing! The kids loved it! Jon couldn't stop gushing about it. Thank you!


  16. Carrie-

    On the crab rangoons - I have made them using torn corn tortillas (I fried them - I know, not the healthiest), and they were very good. My filling was cream cheese, crabmeat, some onion powder and chives. We dipped them in a hot mustard sauce. I like them as much as the traditional ones, maybe even a little better!

  17. Made this last night, using about 3 lbs of chicken, and doubled the sauce recipe. (husband likes his to be more of a gravy on EVERYTHING so doubling still wasn't enough. next time will triple the sauce!!) It never turned redish grey, and never went translucent red. Was a brownish red, then just translucent light brown. tasted great, thou. next time will add pineapple chunks and a mess of sliced waterchestnuts!!! woo hoo!!! and I never got the sour side of the flavor, so I splashed it a few more times with vinegar. no sour, but it did cut the sweet.

  18. Thanks for this recipe, I , too, was a Chinese food freak. The breading was a bit thin but tasted good. I subbed coconut palm sugar for the regular sugar and my sauce was more on the brown side, but this tasted like a scrumptious Chinese dish and was very satisfying.

  19. Hello, I tried this recipe.But, instead of Brown and sweet rice ,I used gf cornmeal.Plus,I bought chicken strips instead of pieces.Then,I steamed the veggie and made sticky rice.So, It was more like the restaurant I used to eat at.Plus, Have a side of gf chines got mustard for the veggies and rice.

  20. Turned out great! Would love to try using less sugar or no sugar at all....maybe I will try orange and pineapple juice instead of sugar. Anyways, my husband and kids enjoyed it as well.