Here’s the recipe for my chicken nuggets, as advertised by the Captain as being popular with the other kids in his class. Although, he will eat them himself when they are for dinner, freshly made; it’s only cold, in his lunch, that he frowns upon them. Luckily, Gal Smiley and Sir Monkeypants will usually eat the leftovers when placed cut up, in a wrap, with a little lettuce, ranch dressing, and sprinkle of cheese. Mmmm.
This recipe is actually from Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger, and I highly recommend it to all who have kids with multiple food allergies – it’s simple, basic stuff with simple(ish, for allergy recipes) ingredients, and all the kind of stuff kids like to eat.
This is the original recipe; I actually make 1.5 the amount now in order to have enough for our family of five.
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use canola)
2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari (I omit this due to the soy, but have made it with – good with or without)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I never have any around, so I use 1/4 teaspoon thyme plus 1/4 teaspoon marjoram)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I skimp on this – usually just a sprinkle)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup rice flour (I use white, but you could use brown or a mix for a healthier version)
1/4 cup corn, tapioca, or arrowroot starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Oil for frying (you’ll need about 2 to 3 cups)
1. Wash cut chicken and place in a large ziploc bag. Add the oil, tamari (if using), salt, sugar, and other spices, then shake the bag, coating each piece.
2. Put the bag in the freezer for half an hour (this will stop the outside from cooking too quickly, before the middle has time to cook).
3. While the bag is in the freezer, mix the flour, starch, and baking soda in a small bowl. With about 15 minutes left in the freezing time, get out a heavy, deep frying pan and fill it with about one inch of oil; pre-heat on medium heat.
4. Remove the nuggets from the freezer and pour in the 1/4 cup water; reseal and shake again. Then, add the flour and shake to coat. I have found it’s hard to get an even coating this way; instead, what I do is open the bag, then spoon about half the flour mixture over the nuggets; then flip the bag over, and spoon in the other half. Then seal and shake, and that works better.
5. Put a few nuggets in the pan at a time – don’t crowd them – and cook until golden brown. Depending on the heat of your oil this will be about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side (forgot to mention – they need to be flipped). I usually get paranoid and cut one open to make sure this batch is cooked all the way through. If the outside is getting dark brown or black in places, you need to turn down the oil.
It isn’t 100% effective but it does cut down on the tension in the kitchen a fair bit.
6. Remove nuggets to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, then serve with sweet and sour sauce for dipping (or in a wrap, as described above). Despite what the Captain says, they are actually pretty good cold the next day, as well.