Bombay Chicken

bombaychicken Bombay Chicken

This is a fairly simple gluten free recipe that I can make with a few pantry ingredients. I am adding this to my rotation because my husband and I really enjoyed it. We tried to get our toddlers to eat it, but the best they did was eat the chicken with ketchup. Oh well, I will keep trying!

I confess I make this with different proportions every time which makes it difficult for me to write down. If I have wine I use wine- if not, I use gluten free beer. When I ran out of tomatoes this week, I made the recipe with peaches and it was even more yummy. Sometimes I cook the chicken breasts whole and sometimes I cut them in 2 inch pieces. You see where I am going. Make it your own!

If you don’t like the texture of coconut, you may want to make this with my coconut rice recipe and leave out the shredded coconut garnish. You get the flavor without the texture. My husband doesn’t like coconut, but he loves my coconut rice recipe.

BOMBAY CHICKEN

3 Tablespoons butter or oil

3 boneless chicken breasts

1/2 cup onion ( I use red onion)

1/2 teaspoon garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon curry powder (this ingredient is optional for curry haters/curry lovers may want to kick it up)

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes or fresh peaches, diced (I have used peaches and it was fabulous)

1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth

1/4 cup gluten free beer or dry white wine

1/3 cup milk

2-3 teaspoons cornstarch

cooked rice or use coconut rice

Garnish

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped cashews or almonds (optional)

1/4 cup shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare your chicken- cut into two inch pieces OR pound the chicken breasts between plastic wrap until flattened just a little. In a heavy, deep frying pan, melt the butter or heat the oil over med. heat. Brown the chicken on both sides. If using the 2 inch pieces, it will take about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan, but reserve the butter. Cook the onion for about 3 minutes; add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Return chicken to pan and add chicken broth, salt, ginger, chili powder, cayenne, curry, chopped peaches, and beer/wine. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low (if not there already) and cook until chicken is tender when pierced with a fork.

In a small measuring cup, mix milk and cornstarch. Slowly stir into chicken mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil and thicken the sauce.  Serve with rice and garnish.

3-5 servings

Go visit Sea at Book of Yum for some traditional gluten free  Indian meal ideas.

Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tips

beerbread2 Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tips

My latest gluten free bread recipe is made with an entire bottle of gluten free beer- Get it? Whole Beer Bread? If you have gluten free beer hanging out at your house make sure to set aside a bottle for this recipe! My husband and I don’t drink beer, so I always have to go to the store to make beer batters and beer bread.

The beer gives the bread an excellent flavor. I made this bread using certified gluten free oat flour and sorghum flour because they are familiar whole grain flours to me. I really like the taste of these flours. I also used molasses and brown sugar because these ingredients complement the beer flavor well and keep the bread moist.

I thought I would share a few baking tips with the recipe:

Gluten Free Bread Baking Tips

Bread can be a little challenging! With a little practice and experimentation, however, you will become a gluten free bread baking expert in no time at all.

1. Use familiar whole grain flours. After you go gluten-free, experiment with whole grain gluten free flours and figure out your top three favorites. Those are the flours you should highlight (or choose from) in your gluten free bread. Remember that you may not like a flour the first time you try it, so try a few recipes before vetoing one. Some of my favorite whole grain gluten free flours are oat flour, millet flour, and sorghum flour. I think whole grain flours turn out a better tasting loaf of bread.

2. Try baking gluten free bread ‘by hand’ first. It is much easier to control the variables in a recipe when you bake the bread by hand. I think bread machines are fantastic for the tried and true recipes, but when I am in experimentation mode, I want to bake bread by hand. Overall, I think I get better results with a KitchenAid mixer and the oven, but maybe that is just me! If you don’t bake a lot and don’t have a lot of counter space to spare, I would opt for this bread machine Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tipsbecause it is lighter and easier to store. I use my yellow KitchenAid Stand Mixer Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tipsat least 5 times a week, so I made room on my counter!

3. Preheat your oven. I make sure to turn my oven on at least 15 minutes before I start baking my bread. You want your oven to be nice and hot when the bread starts to bake.

4. Proof your yeast. I prep my yeast in tiny clear prep bowls with a teaspoon of sugar for 10-15 minutes, so that I know for sure that my yeast is doing its job. I invest too much money in gluten free flour to take my chances here!

5. Rise time is just a guideline. Depending on where you live and what season it is your rise time will vary. If your dough has doubled in size, your bread is ready to bake.

6. Make sure dough is “kneaded.” I know most gluten free bread recipes do not call for a long mixing time, but I think that gluten free flours actually absorb some liquid during this additional mix time. I mix the dough to get a better idea of how much liquid I really need. It also heats up the yeast, which is beneficial for rising. I know a lot of great gluten free bakers don’t mix their bread dough this long, so it isn’t necessary for a good loaf. Mixing just helps me get the liquid-dry ingredient ratio just right!

7. Don’t forget the salt. The bread will need the enhanced flavor. Don’t let the salt come in direct contact with the yeast because it will kill the yeast.

8. Use a thermometer before you add the liquids. My mother swears she can just tell the temperature that is right to bake bread. I think I can finally feel it, but I like to rely on a thermometer. Liquids should be warm but not too hot because it will kill the yeast. Try 105 degrees.

9. Use Flax seed meal. Flax seed meal contains omega-3 fatty acids and valuable dietary fiber. It may even fight cancer, so putting it in your sandwich bread may not be a bad idea.

10. Use the flat paddle attachment to your mixer. I know some of you use your KitchenAid dough hook, but I prefer to use the flat paddle attachment for mixing gluten free breads.

11. Different flour brands may require different liquid amounts. Sometimes a different brand of rice flour may require more or less liquid than another (Arrowhead Mills vs. Bob’s Red Mill).

12. Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Don’t let cold eggs kill your yeast. Set your eggs aside when you are mixing the dry ingredients to give them a chance to warm up. If the eggs are still too cold, try holding them (in a measuring cup) over a pan of hot water.

13. Check the Ph of your water or use bottled water. You can call the local water department or be lazy and just use bottled water. Most city water is more alkaline, so you would want to add a little vinegar to the dough.

14. Smooth the top of your bread. Oil a Silicone Spatula Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tipsand carefully smooth the top of the dough before putting the loaf in the oven. This will make your loaf more attractive.

15. Use a high-quality pan. Your loaf pan doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be heavy duty. I use this 5-by-10-Inch Rectangular Nonstick Large Loaf Pan Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tipsor these 4-1/2-by-8-1/2-Inch Loaf Pansfor my gluten free bread recipes.

16. Double-check the ingredient list. I check off the dry ingredients as I go which prevents me from leaving something out. I am a mom and frequently interrupted!

17. Mix the dry ingredients (minus the yeast) for next time. You may have gotten in the habit already of making your own mixes for muffins, etc. When I find a recipe I like, I will measure out the dry ingredients into a ziplock bag for next time while I am making today’s loaf of bread. This makes it much easier the next time around.

18. Add some flavor with your liquid choice. I used gluten free beer in this recipe and it added lots of good flavor to my loaf. You can also try coffee, which complements molasses and brown sugar well too. Don’t feel limited to milk or water. Just keep ph in mind.

19. Learn to eyeball the right dough consistency. Gluten free bread dough will be shiny. It will hold the twirls of the mixer. It will look like stiff cake batter and will not be as thick as cookie dough. You will learn exactly what this looks like. When you get it wrong by a couple tablespoons the bread may fail, but don’t give up- you will get it! I always give liquid measurements in my recipes because I think it helps you learn how much liquid to put in a recipe, but a recipe’s liquid needs (based on humidity, season, flour brands, substitutions made) may vary and it is up to you to recognize what the dough is supposed to look like!

20. Use a Digital Thermometer Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tipsto check if the bread is done. Tap the bread and see if it sounds hollow. Check the internal temperature of the bread- I like mine to reach about 208 degrees. This may be higher than normal bread, but for some reason gluten free bread has a tendency to have raw spots, so I wait a few more degrees.

21. Add some flavor with an “add-in”. Kate of Gluten Free Gobsmacked has an excellent recipe for sundried tomato bread. The sundried tomatoes add both flavor and extra moistness.

22. Adjust baking time. Don’t assume the recipe is the problem right away. If your bread seems dry or the crust is too hard, cut back on the baking time (again, this is where the thermometer comes in handy). If you are a newbie, I suggest erring on the side of more time in the oven rather than less (totally the opposite from other gluten free baked goods) but dry gluten free bread can be used for breadcrumbs, etc. and underbaked bread is much worse in my opinion. I would go with the thermometer and tap approach if you are unsure!

23. Store your bread carefully. Don’t put homemade gluten free bread in the refrigerator. It will make the texture gummy. I store bread in a ziplock bag that has had the air squished out.

24. Remove your bread from the loaf pan to cool. I leave my bread to cool in the loaf pan for no more than 5 minutes before I invert the loaf onto a rack. The texture of the crust is much better this way.

25. Relax and take your time. Turn on some music and enjoy making gluten free bread. It is just as enjoyable (maybe more so!) than making regular bread; it just takes a little readjustment.

beerbread Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tips

WHOLE BEER GLUTEN FREE BREAD RECIPE

1/2 cup certified gluten free oat flour (substitution: quinoa flour)

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup arrowroot (substitution: cornstarch)

1 cup white rice flour (substitution: superfine brown rice flour)

1/4 cup flax seed meal

2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (optional)

3 teaspoons xanthan gum

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons of molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites

5 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (cooled slightly)

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 bottle of warm gluten free beer, more or less (I used the entire beer) 12 oz.

2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup of water

DIRECTIONS:

1. Get all your ingredients out of the refrigerator so they can come to room temperature.

2. Separate the eggs in a measuring cup or small bowl so they can warm up.

3. Melt the butter in a small bowl and let it cool down just a little.

4. Pour the beer into a measuring cup (you don’t want the foam on top). Make sure the beer is warm.

5. Sift together all the dry ingredients minus the yeast in your stand mixer.

6. Proof your yeast in a small prep bowl- mix the yeast, one teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4 cup of warm water (105 degrees) for roughly 10-15 minutes.

7. Mix the molasses, vinegar, eggs, and butter together in a med. bowl.

8. Pour this molasses mixture into your dry ingredients. Turn your mixer onto med. speed and mix for a minute or two.

9. Pour the yeast mixture in after it has proofed.

10. Slowly add the warm beer. Let it beat for a few minutes between additions. Let the bread dough beat on high for about 10-13 minutes. This is optional but it helps me get the right amount of liquid in the dough and warms up the yeast.

11. Check the consistency of the dough. It should look like shiny stiff cake batter and hold the twirls of the mixer.

12. Spoon into a greased 10 x 5 pan or 2 8.5 x4.5 pans.

13. Smooth the top of the loaf with a greased scraper/spatula.

14. Cover pan(s) with greased plastic wrap and let rise. It took my loaf about 1 hr. and 15 minutes to rise. The loaf should double in size before baking.

15. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

16. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread is approx. 208 degrees. Check the temperature at the 40 minute mark.

17. Allow bread to cool for 5 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool.

18. Store in a ziplock bag (unsliced) or slice and freeze.

Makes one large loaf or two medium loaves

Note: It is fine to mix the wet ingredients (minus the beer) in your stand mixer and then add the dry ingredients. It is much easier for me to do it the way the recipe is written since it is the liquid measurement that changes in gluten free bread recipes.

Check out my other gluten free bread recipe, Millet Oatmeal Bread.

Do you have a gluten free bread baking tip? Please leave baking tips in the comments!

beerbreadsandwich Whole Beer Bread & Baking Tips

The beer bread goes GREAT with mustard and salami! We devour this bread! My husband (who is only mostly gluten-free) always claims this bread for his sandwich. We love it.

This bread stays fresh until about the third day with no toasting required.

Chocolate Biscuits and Strawberries

chocolatebiscuit Chocolate Biscuits and Strawberries

This is such an easy gluten free dessert! I thought of making gluten free brownies last night, but I decided to make these chocolate biscuits instead. They are not as rich as brownies and take much less time to prepare and bake. I am sure that not everyone will appreciate a chocolate-flavored biscuit, but I love them. They are not too sweet and pair beautifully with whipped cream and strawberries. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

CHOCOLATE BISCUITS WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND STRAWBERRIES

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon gluten free flour mix (I used tapioca starch, sorghum, and white rice flour)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk (remember that liquid amount may vary depending on what flours you use)

STRAWBERRY FILLING

1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved

1 Tablespoon agave syrup

WHIPPED CREAM

3/4 cup heavy cream

agave nectar to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the flours, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the butter and milk, and stir until a soft dough forms. Drop the batter into 4 mounds on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes. Transfer the chocolate biscuits to a wire rack and cool. In a medium bowl, mix the strawberries with the agave nectar. Depending on preference, you may wish to mash about 1/4 cup of the strawberries. In yet another medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until peaks form. Serve the whipped cream and strawberries with the chocolate biscuits.

Serves 4

Sesame Chicken

sesamechicken Sesame Chicken

Do you remember take-out? My favorite thing to order was Sesame Chicken! Some of my favorite dates with my husband included Chinese takeout and a good movie! Since going gluten-free I haven’t eaten Chinese takeout (clearly their soy sauce is NOT gluten free) even during two gluten-free pregnancies. After a few tries, I have finally gotten a recipe for Sesame Chicken that the family loves. Big Dan probably the most! He literally cried for a second and a third helping. That boy will surpass his big brother any day if he keeps this up.

And speaking of takeout, there is exciting news in the Raleigh area for those on special diets. Rosie’s Plate, a gluten-free catering company, just opened up in downtown Raleigh. Rose Waring decided to pursue this catering business after caring for her two young children with multiple food allergies. She realized that having to cook every meal was a daunting task! [I agree!] Her business model is an interesting one. She rotates her menus every two weeks and you have to give her company a day’s notice of your order. I am very excited about this new opportunity for the allergy community of Raleigh. Her prices are very reasonable.

When I visited Rosie’s Plate on Wednesday, I met a woman who was picking up a menu for her teenager. Apparently, she used to order all her child’s baked goods from Babycakes in New York City. She said that the thing her child missed the most was fried chicken. When I told her it would be relatively easy to make fried chicken, she laughed and said that cooking just wasn’t her thing. Hmmm…maybe her teenager wants to swap babysitting for gluten-free cooking lessons?!

Here is the link to the article in the Raleigh News & Observer (yours truly is quoted) about Rosie’s Plate.

I am submitting this sesame chicken recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Kalyn’s Kitchen. This blog event invites bloggers to write about a vegetable, herb, or flower. My sesame chicken recipe includes green onions, which are my absolute favorite. I LOVE that you can actually use your leftover bulbs to grow even more green onions.

whb two year icon Sesame Chicken

SESAME CHICKEN

1 1/2 lbs of chicken tenders (cut into thirds/bite size pieces)

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of San-J’s Wheat-Free Tamari Sauce

2 1/2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar plus 1 teaspoon (you can substitute another if you don’t have it)

1 cup gluten-free chicken broth

1/2 cup sugar (don’t faint; I am trying to mimic the take-out sesame chicken, so reduce if you feel you must)

1/4 cup cornstarch plus 2 teaspoons

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 cup oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

3-6 dried hot pepper pods

1/4 cup sesame seeds

green onions, chopped

cooked jasmine rice

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup of the tamari sauce, vinegar, and chicken broth. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine chicken pieces, remaining 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes. Once the chicken has marinated, add egg whites and cornstarch and stir until well-blended.

In your wok, heat oil over med-high heat. Cook chicken (in about 3 batches) until golden on both sides- this will take 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken from wok with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cover with foil to keep the chicken warm. If you have more than a couple tablespoons of oil left in the wok, discard the remaining oil( leave just a few tablespoons in the wok). Reduce the heat to med. Cook the garlic and pepper pods for about a minute. Then add soy sauce mixture. Increase heat to med-high and cook sauce for about 15 minutes. Stir two teaspoonfuls of cornstarch into a little water and whisk it into the sauce. Once the sauce is thickened and bubbly, add the chicken and sesame seeds. Top with green onions and serve over jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6

Notes: Don’t faint when you read the amount of sugar! I tried to make this recipe with less, but it just didn’t feel as much like the take-out version. If you do decide to reduce the sugar or use agave syrup, you may need to use more cornstarch to thicken the sauce. I suggest just thinking of it as dessert!

You could also try adding a tablespoon of dry white wine to the sauce.

Note: Tamari Sauce is well worth the money and completely delicious. If you use soy sauce consider backing off the amount as it has a stronger flavor.

My Journey to the Gluten Free Diet

I wanted to write this post when I first started my gluten free blog in March of 2007. However, I could not do the post justice at the time, so I began by blogging gluten free recipes. I decided that the longer I put off the post the harder it gets to write, so I suppose I will get started on this post and add pieces here and there as I remember my journey of getting started on the gluten free diet.

I was never a particularly healthy kid. I had pneumonia more than eight times as a child, one bout even requiring hospitalization. I thought that allergies and asthma would follow me around my whole life. In the seventh grade, my body started reacting in an altogether different and more frightening way- I began to get hives and angioedema. The swelling and red welts started one day and just never stopped coming back. My parents took me to several specialists over the years at several military hospitals and none of them could determine what was causing the outbreaks of hives. I was given medications to treat my symptoms but even the drugs could not keep the hives at bay. It seemed the hives came and went as they pleased. The antihistamine drugs they gave me messed with my already tender teenage emotions and made me tired all the time. Can you imagine taking the SAT on powerful antihistamines like Benadryl or Atarax? I suffered through high school never knowing if my lip will swell up in the middle of class or on a date because the drugs didn’t work. The doctors were stumped. My senior year of high school something amazing happened- one of my doctors suggested Zyrtec. They casually mentioned that Zyrtec had in some studies been shown to help with hives. I could not even begin to hope that this drug would help me because nothing had worked. There were still no positive results on my allergy tests- other than dust mites, but according to my doctors that would not cause the urticaria. So I took the Zyrtec and it not only prevented my hives, but would clear them up within 15 minutes after I took one. What was even more amazing was that Zyrtec had even fewer side effects than the other drugs I had been taking.

This “pop a pill” solution worked for a few years until my health took a turn for the worse. At first I blamed college food and then I blamed stress because my dad and both my grandfathers died within just a few years. I continued down this spiral of bad health until shortly after my marriage in 2004. I began getting hives closer and closer to the time I ate. On one occasion, I made a made a homemade chocolate cake and had a very severe immediate allergic reaction to the cake flour. My face swelled up once again and made me almost unrecognizable! At first I was confused at what course of action to take, but I decided that an elimination diet (of sorts) with a food diary might help me. All signs pointed to gluten. I wanted to also get tested for celiac disease immediately, but something stopped me. At that time my husband and I were very concerned about qualifying for health insurance coverage because my husband works for his family’s business. Once we did qualify, we were scared a diagnosis might jeopardize our coverage in the future. I decided I would go on the gluten free diet and see if the hives stopped and my health improved- after all, if a diet was the only remedy, what need was there of a diagnosis? I went on the gluten free diet and my hives stopped. Gradually my stomach problems, headaches, and back pain disappeared too. Five months later I was pregnant!

I know that not all of you have been so lucky. My few hardships pale in comparison to some of the stories my readers have shared with me. Now that I have found the gluten free community and gotten a little more life lived, I feel like I should have pursued a diagnosis (if there was one to be had) because maybe that would have made me a better role model for those of you starting your journey. However, I am a mom now and I feel like it would be negligent to pursue a diagnosis when gluten=hives. If I ingest gluten I get hives and that is not something I can live with for any length of time! I just can’t eat the stuff! In my effort to be responsible for my health, I went and had my allergies tested again last week and nothing new came up, thank goodness! No anemia either!

It took me over a decade to figure out the source of my health problems. I know for many of you, it took even longer. The sense of relief quickly turns to panic as you stumble your way through the first few weeks of the gluten free diet. I was lucky that I was a new wife and not yet a mother when I had to change my diet. Many of you have had to change established routines and traditions for an entire family; I can’t imagine how hard that would be. I am here to reassure you that once you become a seasoned gluten-free cook, no one will mind the diet!

I promise to tell you about my first days trying to live gluten free in a future post!

If you are starting your gluten free journey, you may want to check out the NFCA’s Do I Have Celiac? quiz.