Easy Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

The Chicken Bible strikes again! I had a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and wondered, what am I going to do with these? So out came the Chicken Bible and this recipe struck my fancy. I love fried foods but don’t make them often because of the mess, all that fat and because they are especially unhealthy for diabetes. Nothing shoots up glucose levels more than fried foods. We’ve all got to indulge in something sinful now and again so I thought I’d give it a try. Turned out very easy to make, the only part I didn’t like was, of course, cleaning up after frying. If you have a deep frier use it instead of a skillet on the stovetop! Makes 2-3 servings.

First, make the marinade by combining in a medium bowl:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons date syrup

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine before adding:

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds (6-8) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed off and cut into 1″ wide strips*

Stir to combine chicken with the marinade. Let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. While the chicken marinates, prepare the pans needed as well as the dredge. So, line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper, set one aside and place a drying rack on top of the second and place 2-3 layers of paper towels on top of the drying rack. Set aside. In a pie plate or large soup plate, place:

1 cup tapioca starch (cassaba flour, corn starch if you can have it, potato starch, or arrowroot would also wok)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk to combine and set aside until chicken is ready. When the chicken is done marinating, using tongs, pull out all the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the bowl and place it in the tapioca starch mixture. Using your hands, coat each piece individually and place on the first baking sheet (the one with just the parchment paper), being sure to knock off any excess starch. Repeat until all the pieces are coated. Set aside the marinade for later use.

Next, in a 12″ skillet with high sides or a small Dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of:

Oil (I used a mixture of olive and avocado but feel free to use your normal oil)

Be sure to also use a thermometer so that you can heat the oil to 375 degrees and keep it between 350 and 375 while cooking the chicken. While the oil heats, look over the chicken. If there is still patches of white starch, using a cooking brush (or spoon) brush with the marinade to moisten.

When the oil is to temperature, using the tongs, place individual pieces of chicken into the oil from back to front (place them in the oil away from you then towards you). Don’t overcrowd the oil. It took three batches to cook all my chicken. Cook about 4-6 minutes depending on thickness, turning over once. Place on the second baking sheet (the one with the paper towels) using either the tongs or a slotted spoon. Salt lightly as you remove them from the oil. Serve the chicken with lemon wedges – don’t squeeze the lemon on them until you serve them or they’ll get soggy! I served mine with some air fried zucchini squash slices – delicious. See recipe under side dishes.

*With the thigh skin side up (that’s the side that has the film over it), long side towards you, slice crosswise into 1″ strips. You should get about 4 slices per thigh. Don’t worry if some come out in triangles, cubes, etc., since some pieces will come off the main parts of the thighs.

More brown food! Can’t seem to get away from it.

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

Quick, easy, and delicious, this soup with warm your stomach. It has that comfort food vibe with great flavor. Using pre-shredded carrots is what makes it so easy. Either regular orange carrots or rainbow carrot shreds will work. Add some lemon zest on top and a lemon wedge on the plate to add some freshness and lighten the spiciness of the soup. Serves 2 but easily doubled.

Put a 4-quart pot on over medium heat and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat until shimmering before adding:

1 small onion, finely diced

Cook the onion until translucent and then add:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (depending on how spicy you want the soup)

Stir the curry powder into the onion and heat until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

2 cups shredded carrot

Stir to coat the carrots in the onion and curry mixture before adding to the pot:

1 to 1 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken bone broth but a mild vegetable broth would also work and keep this soup vegan; want to cover the carrots completely but not drown them)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

Cook over medium low heat until carrot is softened, about 20-25 minutes, covered. Put the carrot mixture into a blender and add:

1/2 to 1 cup oat milk

Start with the 1/2 cup and add more if the mixture needs to be thinned to your taste. If the carrot mixture is really hot, cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel and don’t fill it more than 1/2 full or you’ll have an explosion of hot soup all over your counter! Start blending on the lowest speed and as it purees, increase slightly. Should only take 30-45 seconds to blend. Serve with lemon zest and a wedge of lemon on the side. Serving it on the side allows the person eating that bowl to add as little or much of the lemon as they like. [I learned this trick from a Vietnamese chef and it really does mellow out the curry.]

Lemon Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Chicken is one of my staple proteins. I had some chicken breasts in my fridge that needed to be used but I didn’t have time today to do a lot with it. Chicken soup I thought! Quick, easy, not too much work. Then I thought about the lemon beurre blanc sauce I made a few nights ago to go with some fish and thought I love chicken and lemon. It won’t be too hard to put them together. This soup is the outcome of that thought process. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

First, heat a small Dutch oven over medium high heat. When it gets hot, add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

1 small onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 cup shredded carrots

3-4 ounces sliced mushrooms (any kind you like)

Stir to combine and let cook reducing heat to medium until the vegetables begin to soften. Add:

6-8 ounces white meat chicken, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir so the chicken goes to the bottom of the pot, or as much as possible. When chicken is browned, add:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

approximately 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of one large lemon)

3 cups chicken stock

8 ounces of small pasta like elbows (I used green lentil safari)

8 ounces whole chickpeas

Stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to medium low so that the stock is on a low boil to cook the chicken and pasta, about 12-15 minutes. While it’s cooking combine in a small bowl (2 cups):

1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from one large lemon)

1/2 cup oat milk

2-3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour

Whisk to combine the flour. When the pasta and chicken are cooked, add:

1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas

Cook for 3-5 minutes longer to cook the peas before adding the milk mixture. If necessary pour the milk mixture through a small sieve to keep any flour lumps out of the soup. Stir the soup to mix in the flour and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes while the stock thickens and the flour cooks. Stir in:

2 tablespoons honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4.

Of course you can add any vegetables your family likes. Asparagus would work very well in this soup as it goes great with lemon. And rice would work as well as pasta depending on taste.

Lemon Chicken with Asparagus and Chickpeas

My grandson and I made this the other night. He ate two helpings! Very simple to make and quite delicious especially if you like chicken and lemon like we do.

First, dry and trim any fat from:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cut each breast into large chunks then salt and pepper to taste. Heat in a 12″ skillet with high sides over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add chicken chunks, brown on every side. Remove to a plate and add to the pan:

1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces

Sauté 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan. Pour off oil in pan to leave about 1 tablespoon. Add:

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 teaspoons lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Sauté just until the coriander becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

chicken breasts along with any juices on the plate

1/2 can (about 1 cup) drained and mashed chickpeas*

Reduce heat to medium low or low and cook just until the chicken registers 175 degrees or is completely firm to the touch, about 10-15 minutes. Turn the chicken several times while cooking to ensure an even cook. If the sauce is reducing too much, reduce heat to low and/or cover the pan to keep in the remaining sauce. When chicken is cooked, remove to the plate and add the asparagus back into the pan to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until just tender. Stir the chicken back into the pan. Serve over rice, garnish with fresh parsley or green onions. Makes 4 servings (unless you’ve got someone like my grandson around!).

*If you like the texture of whole chickpeas you can also add the other half can whole when you add the asparagus back into the pan towards the end.

Baba Ghanoush

Yes, another eggplant recipe! And a very simple dip to prepare; the hardest part is roasting the eggplant and that’s not especially difficult, just time consuming. I can’t tell you exactly what size eggplant to buy – you’ll want about 2 cups of eggplant pulp. The 3 oriental eggplant I used only gave me about 1 cup of pulp so I would recommend a medium to large Italian eggplant for this recipe or else adjust the other ingredients to the amount of eggplant pulp you roasted.

First, roast the eggplant by slicing it into 1″ slices. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray or brush the eggplant slices with olive oil then turn them over and repeat. Roast in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

While the eggplant is roasting, in a small skillet heat:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 teaspoon cumin

Heat only until you can smell the cumin, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Remove the eggplant and let cool slightly before peeling the skin from around the outside of each slice. Place in a food processor and add:

2 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon minced garlic

salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

the cumin and avocado oil mixture

Pulse until smooth, spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with dried or fresh parsley. If desired, sprinkle with olive or avocado oil as well. Serve with gluten-free pita or quinoa buns (see recipe below).

Quinoa Buns

I thought these sounded interesting – avocado and quinoa with lime juice? Who puts lime juice in a bread? But I thought it sounded like it might be a good vehicle for the baba ghanoush. And it sounded very easy to make so I gave it a try and it actually is delicious but just be miserly with the lime zest or it overpowers the other flavors in the buns.

In a medium to large bowl combine:

1 1/2 cup quinoa flour (if you don’t have any but you have quinoa, simply pulse in a food processor to make flour from the raw quinoa)

1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

In a smaller bowl mash:

1 whole large ripe avocado being sure to take out any brown bruise spots which won’t mix into the batter

Add to the avocado:

1-2 tablespoons lime juice (juice from 1 lime)

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 cup water

Using a whisk or hand mixer, combine the wet ingredients until fairly smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. It’s a sticky dough so using wet hands shape into 6-7 balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten to about 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds and let sit while the oven heats to 425 degrees. Bake about 25 minutes total, turning the buns over at 15 minutes to brown both sides. Test with a toothpick for doneness. REMEMEBER GLUTEN FREE BREADS CAN BE GUMMY SO EVEN IF THE TOOTHPICK COMES OUT CLEAN, THEY STILL MAY NOT BE COOKED THROUGH. Cool completely before cutting.

Eggless Hollandaise Sauce

This is a very easy recipe to make, unlike egg yolk and butter based Hollandaise which can break very easily. But even without the egg yolks and butter, it has an unctuous mouth feel and an almost umami satisfaction. It’s a simple white sauce with some added vinegar and lemon zest. Great for topping asparagus (I used white, sorry the photo doesn’t have more color, I have to limit my intake of green vegetables), peas and onions, chicken or turkey breast instead of gravy, or almost any fish (although you might want a little more lemon with fish).

In a 4 cup or larger saucepan, whisk together:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (best to grate with a microplane rather than a box grater) [this comes to the zest of about half a lemon]

pinch paprika (wasn’t enough for me so I added about 1/4 teaspoon)

3 tablespoons of gluten-free all purpose flour

Dash of sea salt

This should whisk to a fairly smooth consistency except for the lemon zest. Slowly add while whisking:

3/4 cup cold non-dairy milk (any kind except soy which won’t thicken)

Put over a medium heat and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. When it’s quite thick, whisk in:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes until the sauce is again somewhat thick (thinner than pudding), it should coat the back of a spoon. Serve hot, makes 1 1/2 cups.

TIPS:

*I added several dashes of herbamare to my sauce

*Gently brown some minced garlic in the oil before adding the remaining ingredients for a roasted garlic flavor (this won’t have a creamy smooth mouth feel)

*Some thyme, Italian herbs, or other herbs in small amounts would work well in this sauce and give it a slightly different flavor. Sage would be good if you want to serve it with chicken or turkey.

*For an eggless “Eggs” Benedict, pour over some Canadian bacon and tomato slice(s) on a gluten-free English muffin for a hearty breakfast.

Chicken Canzanese

When I first saw the listing for Chicken Canzanese in the chicken bible, I thought it was a Chinese dish but turns out it’s a very old Italian recipe. I’ve resized and revamped it for those of us with allergies. It originally made eight servings so I’ve reduced it to 4. I’ve also changed the white wine in the original to chicken stock plus a touch of rice vinegar and honey. Since I’m used to using dried herbs rather than fresh, I’ve also reflected that change in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In an ovenproof skillet (about 10-12 inches), heat over medium high heat:

1 teaspoon olive oil

Add:

1 ounce prosciutto cut into 1/4 inch cubes*

Cook, stirring frequently, until just starting to brown. Add:

3 teaspoons chopped garlic

Cook, stirring often, until garlic just starts to brown. Transfer the prosciutto and garlic to a small bowl. Dry with paper towels:

4-5 chicken thighs, skin on

Dust them with pepper to taste (no salt is necessary in this recipe because of the salt in the prosciutto. Replace the skillet on the heat and add:

1 teaspoon olive oil

the 4-5 chicken thighs, skin side down

Cook until well browned on the first side (about 5 minutes) then turn over and brown on the meat side, reducing heat to medium (about 5 more minutes). Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoon of the oil from the skillet (the chicken will release quite a bit of fat). Add to the skillet over medium heat:

2 tablespoon all purpose gluten-free flour

Whisk to combine and let the flour cook for about 30 seconds while whisking before adding:

2 cups of chicken stock

drizzle of rice vinegar (about 1/4 teaspoon)

drizzle of honey (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (depending on your taste)

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

dash (1/8 teaspoon) ground cloves (or add 2 whole cloves – just remember to remove them before serving)

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional depending on your taste)

Whisk to combine and cook until slightly thickened. Add the prosciutto, garlic, and chicken (skin side up) to the skillet, nestling the chicken into the sauce. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After about 15 minutes check and see if the sauce is bubbling; if it is reduce oven temperature to 300 and cook until chicken is tender. Sauce should have thickened but if it’s still thin, remove the chicken from the sauce (move to a plate and cover) and cook the sauce on the stovetop for a few minutes until reduced to approximately 1 1/2 cups. Remove from the heat and whisk in:

1 tablespoon vegan margarine

1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Stir to combine and then pour the sauce around the chicken. Remove the bay leaves (and whole cloves if used) before serving. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta.

*Prosciutto can become tough if fried when very thinly sliced so it’s recommended that a 1/4″ piece be used to cut “chunks” for this recipe. However, my deli wasn’t able to provide a “slab” of prosciutto because of shortages now due to the pandemic so I used the thinly sliced prepackaged prosciutto instead. Seemed to work alright but I simply chopped it into larger pieces than 1/4″.

Watermelon Gazpacho

There are about as many recipes on the internet for watermelon gazpacho as there are for regular tomato based gazpacho. Naturally sweet from the watermelon, my recipe is very simple and easy to make with just a few ingredients. Again, the most difficult part is peeling the tomatoes so get the ripest ones you can find.

First, just as with tomato gazpacho, put a pot of water on to boil. When it’s boiling drop in:

4 small Roma (or plum) tomatoes with + cut in the blossom end (as opposed to the stem end)

Turn off the heat and let them sit for just a minute or so before dousing them in an ice bath. Peel and cut out the stem end (about 1/4 inch into the tomato). Set aside.

Cut into pieces:

1 mini personal watermelon (about 8″ diameter or a little smaller)

Cut the meat off the peel and place in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add the tomatoes and blend until smooth. Add:

1 small English cucumber, peeled and cut into 3-4″ pieces

Add to the mixture and blend until smooth. At this point, there are options:

1/2 small jar of mild (or hot if heat is desired) chili peppers

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

I prefer mine pure so I just add at this point:

1 teaspoon sea salt (or herbamare)

Ground pepper to taste

Juice of 1-2 lemons, strained*

Chill and serve. Makes 8 cups.

*OR Limes if preferred.

White Fish with Lemon Garlic Sauce on Sautéed Bok Choy

Any white fish will work with this recipe – cod, flounder, sole, swordfish or even sea bass (my very favorite fish!). The most difficult part of the whole recipe is roasting the garlic and that’s really very easy in the oven. If you’re not familiar with the process, here are the instructions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel most of the paper off the outside of the head of garlic being careful to leave the head intact. If a faster process is desired, the cloves can be separated and baked individually, it takes about half the baking time of doing a whole head. With kitchen scissors, trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head, or each individual clove. Drizzle with 1 or 2 teaspoons olive oil per head. Wrap in parchment paper and bake for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the heads (or 15-20 if doing individual cloves). Cool then press the bottom of each clove to squeeze out the garlic. Stores in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months. Be sure to open windows or turn on the stove vent because the kitchen, and whole house if you have a small house, will be filled with the aroma of roasted garlic.

For each pound of fish, preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare a baking dish large enough to accommodate the fish without crowding. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or coat with olive oil. Dry the fish with paper towels, salt and pepper to taste and arrange in the dish. Bake, depending on thickness, 15-35 minutes, until fish is flaky but still moist. Fish turns quite white in color when it’s cooked.

Want to make it vegan? Use firm tofu in place of the fish but fry it in a skillet instead of baking.

Make the lemon garlic sauce. In a small bowl, mix together:

1/2 teaspoon mashed roasted garlic (about 1 clove)

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise*

salt and pepper to taste

Set aside and prepare the bok choy. In a large 12″ skillet, heat over medium:

1 teaspoon olive oil, then add:

1 small onion diced

6-8 baby bok choy, cleaned and cut in half or quarters

1 teaspoon minced garlic (or some of the roasted garlic)

Cook, stirring for the first few minutes, then reduce heat to medium low and cook 5-7 minutes until the onion and bok choy are softened.

Place the sautéed bok choy in the bottom of a serving dish, add a serving of the fish. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of sauce over each fish, garnish with scallions, chives or dill (chopped). Serves 4.

*Don’t have any vegan mayonnaise? See my recipe under sauces for egg-free mayonnaise.

Crusted Tilapia

I’m always looking for new recipes for fish. This one is very tasty and very easy to make. It reminded me of fried fish but is baked in the oven. That’s because of the high fat content in the mayonnaise. Feel free to use any fish, adjusting the proportions to fit the size of your fish portions. I used tilapia but the original recipe used halibut so it works for pretty much any fish. Simple and quick to make. Serves 4.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl mix:

3/4 cup mayonnaise*

1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

2 tablespoons dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and basil (or 1 teaspoon of each fresh, chopped)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk to combine. In a non-stick baking dish** (again size depends on type of fish you use, mine was a 9×12), arrange:

1 pound of fish filets (with the tilapia, that’s four large pieces)

Spread the mixture equally over each piece of fish, covering the top completely. Bake in preheated oven 20-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish (the tilapia is quite thin and only took 20 minutes). Serve with lemon wedges or tartar sauce.

*If you’re allergic to eggs like me, there are now several brands of vegan mayonnaise available which are delicious and work well in this recipe.

**There’s enough fat in the mayonnaise so greasing the pan isn’t necessary.